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2022 NFL Draft

What’s In a Number? A Look Back at the History of the 2022 Steelers’ Rookie Class Numbers

What’s In a Number? A Look Back at the History of the 2022 Steelers’ Rookie Class Numbers

What’s in a number? On Monday, the Pittsburgh Steelers released their 2022 rookie class numbers to the public. While it had been made official late last month that Steelers’ first round rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett would wear his collegiate number 8 as a Pittsburgh Steeler, the organization has since been quiet as to the jersey numbers that their other rookies would adorn. With this Steelers team facing significant turnover from the previous year, and with young stars on both sides of the football, it means that numbers associated with long-time Steelers veterans, such as departing cornerback Joe Haden’s number 23, are suddenly up for grabs.

The Steelers 2022 Rookies

We’ll take a look at the 2022 Steelers rookie numbers, and the players recently associated with them since the turn of the century. First up…


Kenny Pickett: 8


Pickett opted to keep his collegiate number 8 heading into the NFL, a number that has not been commonly used by the Steelers in the 21st century. Most notably, Pickett, who has a chance to replace Ben Roethlisberger as the Steelers’ next franchise QB, will wear the same number as the quarterback Tommy Maddox, whose injury ushered in the Roethlisberger era in 2004. 

Melvin IngramOLB2021
Josh ScobeeK2015
Tommy MaddoxQB2001-2005


George Pickens: 14

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – JANUARY 10: Georgia Bulldogs WR George Pickens (1) catches a deep pass against Alabama Crimson Tide DB Kool-Aid McKinstry (1) during the Alabama Crimson Tide versus the Georgia Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff National Championship, on January 10, 2022, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Many thought that second-round wide receiver pick George Pickens may have stuck with his collegiate number 1 in the NFL now that the league has opted to liberalize the numbers available to certain positions, including number 1 for receivers. Pickens, however, opted to go with number 14, replacing Ray-Ray McCloud’s number on the roster. 

Ray-Ray McCloudWR2020-2021
Tevin JonesWR2019
Sammie CoatesWR2015-2016
Derek MoyeWR2013
Limas SweedWR2008-2009
Tom RouenP2002


DeMarvin Leal: 98

Like former Steelers pass rusher Melvin Ingram, DeMarvin Leal was a defensive player who opted to use the number 8 in college. However, upon entering the league, Leal chose to wear number 98, yielding to Pickett to claim number 8. 

Taco CharltonOLB2021
Vince WilliamsMLB2013-2021
Casey HamptonNT2001-2012

Calvin Austin III: 19

Steelers Austin Goes For Touchdown

19 has rarely been utilized by the Steelers over the past 22 years, and there’s no doubt that the most obvious player associated with it is recently departed Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who the Steelers reportedly declined to re-sign. Like Pickens, some thought that fourth round receiver Calvin Austin III would take advantage of the new rules for wideouts and wear his collegiate number 4. Austin opted to claim the recently available number 19 as his first number in the NFL. 

JuJu Smith-SchusterWR2017-2021
Tyler GrishamWR2009

Connor Heyward: 83

Mike Mulholland

Connor Heyward is a jack-of-all-trades type player, and as such, there wasn’t an obvious answer as to what number he would take. While Steelers Tight Ends Coach Alfredo Roberts said that Heyward would primarily be playing tight-end, he has been utilized in several spots on the roster during his time at Michigan State. Heyward ultimately landed on the number used by former Steelers Hall of Fame tight end Heath Miller, 83. 

Cobi HamiltonWR2016
Heath MillerTE2005-2015
Chris DoeringWR2003-2004
Lenzie JacksonWR2001
Malcom JohnsonWR1999-2000

Mark Robinson: 93

OXFORD, MS – NOVEMBER 13: Ole Miss Rebels linebacker Mark Robinson (35) flexes after making a tackle during the game between the Ole Miss Rebels and the Texas A&M Aggies on November 13, 2021, at Vaught-Hemingway Stadiumin Oxford, Ms. (Photo by Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Seventh round pick, linebacker Mark Robinson, chose to wear 93 in the NFL, forgoing his collegiate number 35, which is currently claimed by Steelers cornerback Arthur Maulet

Joe SchobertMLB2021
Daniel McCullersDT2014-2019 (62 in 2015, 92 in 2014)
Cam ThomasDT2015
Jason Worilds DE2010-2014 (97 in 2010)
Nick EasonDT2007-2010
Rodney BaileyDE2001-2003 (94), 2006
James HarrisonOLB2002 (93), 2004-2012 (92), 2014-2017 (92)

Chris Oladokun: 5

Steelers QB Chris Oladokun

Steelers QB Chris Oladokun

Former South Dakota State quarterback Chris Oladokun, selected by the Steelers in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft, subtracted one from his college number, and chose to wear number 5 as a Pittsburgh Steeler. The number was most recently used by Steelers quarterback Josh Dobbs

Josh DobbsQB2018, 2020-2021
Bruce GradkowskiQB2014
Paul ErnsterK2008


What do yinz think? Did the rookies pick good numbers? Should more of them have stuck with their college numbers? Click to comment below!


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