Pittsburgh Steelers Season Preview: Projected Depth Chart, Rosters, and Predictions

The Pittsburgh Steelers always have a high floor, but our season preview explores their ceiling as Kenny Pickett enters his second NFL campaign.

While the Pittsburgh Steelers failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2019, they managed to win nine games, keeping Mike Tomlin’s lifetime streak of above .500 seasons intact. Now that Kenny Pickett has a year of NFL experience under his belt, can the Steelers head back to the postseason next year after upgrading at several positions?

Let’s take a look back at Pittsburgh’s offseason moves as we preview the Steelers’ 2023 campaign.

Everything You Need Ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2023 NFL Season

While the Steelers will bring back the core of their roster from last year, they’ve made significant additions at a few critical spots.

Pittsburgh Steelers Roster Changes

  • Players Signed
    • T Le’Raven Clark
    • G Nate Herbig
    • G Isaac Seumalo
    • DT Breiden Fehoko
    • DT Larry Ogunjobi
    • DL Armon Watts
    • LB Cole Holcomb
    • LB Elandon Roberts
    • CB Patrick Peterson
    • CB Chandon Sullivan
    • S Damontae Kazee
  • Players Drafted
    • OT Broderick Jones
    • CB Joey Porter Jr.
    • DT Keeanu Benton
    • TE Darnell Washington
    • EDGE Nick Herbig
    • CB Cory Trice
    • OL Spencer Anderson
  • Players Acquired Via Trade
    • WR Allen Robinson
      • The Steelers acquired Robinson and a 2023 seventh-round pick (No. 251) from the Rams in exchange for a 2023 seventh-round pick (No. 234).
  • Players Lost
    • QB Mason Rudolph
    • EDGE Malik Reed (Dolphins)
    • DT Tyson Alualu
    • DT Chris Wormley
    • LB Devin Bush (Seahawks)
    • LB Myles Jack
    • LB Robert Spillane (Raiders)
    • CB Cameron Sutton (Lions)
    • S Terrell Edmunds (Eagles)

Any discussion of Pittsburgh’s offseason has to start with the offensive line. Last year, the Steelers signed guard James Daniels and center Mason Cole to moderately-priced deals, but they still had work to do.

First, Pittsburgh landed former Eagles guard Isaac Seumalo for three years and $24 million, giving them a stabilizing presence on the interior. Then, they traded ahead of the tackle-needy Jets in the draft to find Broderick Jones, the best offensive tackle remaining on the board. Jones should be the Steelers’ Day 1 left tackle, allowing former starter Dan Moore Jr. to compete with Chukwuma Okorafor for right tackle duties.

The only other major offensive change for Pittsburgh will be at receiver, where Allen Robinson II now projects as the club’s WR3 behind Diontae Johnson and George Pickens. The Steelers gave up next to nothing to acquire Robinson from the Rams with the hope the 29-year-old can play like he did in 2020 (102-1,1250-6) while seeing time in the slot and outside.

On defense, Pittsburgh lost its best cornerback — Cam Sutton — to the Lions in free agency, but they’ve added replacements through multiple avenues. Patrick Peterson and Chandon Sullivan came aboard as FA signings, while Steelers legacy player Joey Porter Jr. should be an immediate starter for his father’s old team.

Pittsburgh Steelers Coaching Staff in 2023

  • Head Coach: Mike Tomlin
  • Offensive Coordinator: Matt Canada
    • QB coach: Mike Sullivan
    • RB coach: Eddie Faulkner
    • WR coach: Frisman Jackson
    • TE coach: Alfredo Roberts
    • OL coach: Pat Meyer
  • Defensive Coordinator: Teryl Austin
    • DL coach: Karl Dunbar
    • ILB coach: Aaron Curry
    • OLB coach: Denzel Martin
    • Secondary coach: Grady Brown
  • Special Teams Coordinator: Danny Smith

Predicting the Pittsburgh Steelers Depth Chart

Pittsburgh Steelers Season Preview: Projected Depth Chart, Rosters, and Predictions

Offensive Depth Chart

  • QB: Kenny Pickett, Mitchell Trubisky, Tanner Morgan
  • RB: Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, Anthony McFarland Jr., Jason Huntley
  • WR: Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Allen Robinson II, Calvin Austin III, Gunner Olszewski, Miles Boykin
  • TE: Pat Freiermuth, Zach Gentry, Darnell Washington, Connor Heyward
  • LT: Broderick Jones, Dan Moore Jr.
  • LG: Isaac Seumalo, Kevin Dotson, Kendrick Green
  • C: Mason Cole, Spencer Anderson
  • RG: James Daniels, Nate Herbig
  • RT: Chukwuma Okorafor, Le’Raven Clark

Defensive Depth Chart

  • DT: Cameron Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, Keeanu Benton, DeMarvin Leal, Montravius Adams, Armon Watts
  • EDGE: T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Nick Herbig, Quincy Roche
  • LB: Cole Holcomb, Elandon Roberts, Tanner Muse, Mark Robinson
  • CB: Patrick Peterson, Joey Porter Jr., Ahkello Witherspoon, Levi Wallace, Chandon Sullivan
  • S: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Keanu Neal, Damontae Kazee, Tre Norwood, Miles Killebrew

Special Teams Depth Chart

  • K: Chris Boswell
  • P: Pressley Harvin III
  • LS: Christian Kuntz
  • KR: Gunner Olszewski
  • PR: Gunner Olszewski

2022 Results and Standings

The Steelers’ 2022 campaign was the tale of two seasons. Mitch Trubisky started the year as Pittsburgh’s starting quarterback, but Pickett replaced him at halftime of Week 4 against the Jets. The Steelers lost that game to fall to 1-3 and were 2-6 by the time their Week 9 bye approached.

But things started to turn around when Pittsburgh defeated the Saints in Week 10. The Steelers went 7-2 after the bye, getting back to .500 with a Week 17 win over the Ravens and planting themselves in the playoff conversation heading into Week 18.

Pittsburgh could have entered the dance had they gotten some help in the season’s final week. The Steelers ended up defeating the Browns in Week 18, but they needed both the Patriots and the Dolphins to lose to garner postseason spot. While New England did its part with a loss to Buffalo, Miami took down New York to claim the AFC’s seventh seed and leave the Steelers at home.

2023 Power Ranking and Season Outlook

The Steelers ranked 19th in Dalton Miller’s post-draft NFL Power Rankings, firmly planted in a tier with the NFL’s other fringe playoff contenders.

Pittsburgh has the pieces in place on both sides of the ball to compete for the postseason, but the quality of quarterbacks in the AFC — including Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, and Aaron Rodgers, among others — means Pickett will need to take a step forward in 2022 for the Steelers to enter the playoff fray.

The good news is that Pickett already showed signs of development last season. After ranking 24th among 26 qualifiers in expected points added per play from Weeks 4-8 (his first three starts plus a half-game against the Jets), Pickett finished 11th in EPA per play after the Steelers’ bye. Unsurprisingly, Pittsburgh’s offense also showed drastic improvement during that stretch, moving from 21st in DVOA before the bye to 10th afterward.

It wasn’t just the offensive side of the ball that corrected itself over the second half of the season. The Steelers’ defense also produced an uptick in production, finishing fourth in defensive DVOA post-bye after ranking 27th over the first nine weeks of the year. A defensive roster headlined by T.J. Watt, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Cameron Heyward will always boast an extremely high floor.

Pittsburgh’s win total for the 2023 campaign is set at 8.5, but the Steelers may have more of a ceiling than any AFC team with a win projection under 9. The AFC is a slaughterhouse, and the Steelers profile as the worst team in the AFC North. Nine wins feel right (given that we’ll never bet against Tomlin), but there’s room for a 10-win season and a playoff appearance in Pittsburgh.

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