With training camps more than two months away, teams continue to evaluate their rosters. Here is an examination of the Pittsburgh Steelers and which players are trending up — and down.
Kenny Pickett, quarterback: The Steelers have surrounded Pickett with everything he needs to be successful. Pittsburgh gave the second-year quarterback weapons in veteran WR Allen Robinson II and rookie TE Darnell Washington, along with a revamp of its offensive line.
For his part, Pickett added 13 pounds of muscle this offseason after helping lead the Steelers to 9-8 record in 2022. If he can take a leap this coming season, which many believe he will, Pittsburgh could be a dark-horse contender in 2023.
Najee Harris, running back: Similar to Pickett, Harris will be one of the biggest benefactors from the team’s busy offseason. Pittsburgh strengthened its offensive line through free agency and the draft with the additions of guard Isaac Seumalo and tackle Broderick Jones, giving Harris the best front five he’s run behind since entering the league in 2021.
While some critics believe Harris, a former first-round pick, hasn’t played to the expectations, he has now quietly put together back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons. In 2023, he can become the first running back in nearly a decade to rush for 1,000+ yards in each of his first three seasons. If Harris stays healthy, this season could be his best yet.
Kevin Dotson, guard: The Steelers signed guard Isaac Seumalo, who allowed just one sack in 2022 with the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles, to a three-year, $24 million contract in free agency. Dotson, who allowed four sacks last season, seems to be the odd man out – and he knows it.
“They done paid him already,” Dotson told reporters, referencing Seumalo. “Once you pay somebody it’s almost set in stone.”
Pittsburgh may trade Dotson, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal, to a guard-needy team as we get deeper into the summer. The team has great depth at the position, with veteran Nate Herbig and rookie Spencer Anderson also in the group.
Levi Wallace, cornerback: Like Dotson, Wallace may be getting pushed down the depth chart following offseason additions to the secondary. Pittsburgh signed CB Patrick Peterson to a two-year, $14 million contract in free agency and added corners Joey Porter Jr. and Cory Trice Jr. in the draft.
Wallace had the second-most interceptions (four) for the Steelers last season and figures to play plenty upcoming, but 2023 could be his final season in Pittsburgh. He is entering the final year of his ciurrent contract.