Steelers’ Biggest Weaknesses Ahead of 2022 NFL Training Camp | Bleacher Report

By | June 20, 2022
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    AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

    The Pittsburgh Steelers have made the playoffs each of the past two seasons and in three of the past five years. However, they’re currently on a postseason losing streak, having lost four consecutive playoff games, a run that stretches back to the 2016 campaign.

    Heading into 2022, Pittsburgh has plenty of talent on its roster. And it’s possible it could make a third straight trip to the postseason and potentially even win a playoff game.

    However, the Steelers also have some uncertainties before training camp begins next month. There are going to be several key roster battles at positions where they don’t have proven starters. Numerous breakout players may emerge, but multiple holes could remain, especially if the team doesn’t make any more moves in the meantime.

    With that in mind, here’s a look at the Steelers’ biggest weaknesses at this point in the summer.

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    AP Photo/Don Wright

    Pittsburgh’s offensive line had some holes in 2021, so it wasn’t a surprise that it signed several veteran free agents to help up front. It brought in James Daniels and Mason Cole, both of whom will likely be starters on the interior in 2022.

    However, the Steelers didn’t address either offensive tackle position. That means the current projected starters are Dan Moore Jr. and Chukwuma Okorafor, and that could end up being a problem for them on the edges.

    Last year, Pro Football Focus graded Okorafor at a 63.6 (backup level) and Moore at a 57.8 (replaceable). Unless they take substantial steps forward during training camp and the preseason, there’s a good chance they’ll struggle.

    It would be worthwhile for the Steelers to consider adding a starting-caliber offensive tackle (or potentially two) before the start of the 2022 season. Pittsburgh is going to have a new starter at quarterback—free-agent addition Mitchell Trubisky or rookie Kenny Pickett—and if they are going to succeed, it needs to give him plenty of time to do so.

    Right now, the Steelers’ offensive line isn’t solid enough to make that happen consistently.

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    AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

    There are some impressive offensive playmakers on the Pittsburgh roster. Running back Najee Harris is poised for big things in his second NFL season. Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool could put up sizable receiving numbers. And tight end Pat Freiermuth showed potential during his rookie season in 2021.

    It’s crucial for an offense to have depth, though, especially at positions as important as running back and wide receiver. That could end up being a bit of an issue for the Steelers this year, depending on how things develop.

    Benny Snell Jr. and Anthony McFarland Jr. are decent backup running backs, but Harris will likely have to carry a large load.

    At wide receiver, rookies George Pickens and Calvin Austin III could quickly contribute. But if they don’t, the Steelers won’t have many great pass-catching options beyond Johnson and Claypool.

    Injuries and underperformance always occur during the NFL season, and teams have to be prepared. Will the Steelers still be able to excel if they can’t rely on the trio of Harris, Johnson and Claypool for some reason? We could find out this fall.

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    AP Photo/Terrance Williams

    Stephon Tuitt missed all of the 2021 season due to a knee injury, the Steelers to try to replace his production on the defensive line. Now that he isn’t coming back, they’ll need to do it again in 2022.

    Earlier this offseason, the 29-year-old announced his retirement from the NFL. He was a key part of Pittsburgh’s defensive front for seven seasons and played consistently well when healthy. So, it hasn’t been easy for the Steelers to find ways to make up for his absence.

    Cameron Heyward and Tyson Alualu are solid veteran players, but they’re 33 and 35, respectively. Chris Wormley can also contribute, but Pittsburgh doesn’t have many depth players to rotate in and give its starters breaks.

    The Steelers’ pass rush is going to have success because they’ll have linebackers TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith on the edges, but it will be interesting to see whether their interior defensive linemen play well enough for the unit to reach its full potential.

Category: NFL

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