The Steelers went to work to transform their roster this offseason, going all in on the offensive line and defensive line to really make a change in the trenches. However, most projections still have them below the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens, with some even believing in the Cleveland Browns over them.
But Pro Football Focus seems to believe in them. While ranking their top rosters for the 2023 season, Pittsburgh came in at 12th overall in the entire NFL. That’s a significant jump from where they were at the end of the season and before the draft, now cracking into the top 12 of the league overall. Despite that, they aren’t sure if the Steelers can compete just yet.
“The Steelers have never had a losing record under Mike Tomlin, but given how strong the AFC North is expected to be and a lack of high-end talent, that streak could end in 2023,” PFF wrote.
The site named George Pickens as the team’s X-Factor, while Joey Porter Jr. was the rookie to watch for the team. PFF believes that the biggest strength of the team is their pass rush with cornerback being a glaring weakness for them. When it comes to cornerback, it’s less about talent and more about questions on how it will all fit together from the outset for the outlet.
“As it stands, the best cornerback on this defense is 33-year-old Patrick Peterson. The Steelers did address the position twice in the draft with Joey Porter Jr. and Cory Trice Jr., but expect some growing pains in 2023,” PFF wrote.
Overall, the outlet seems optimistic about what Omar Khan and Andy Weidl are doing, but they are not sure if this will be the year they breakthrough with a tough division and some young talent that will need time to gel together. That’s fully justifiable and it will depend on how the team comes out of the gate with some ‘easier games’ early in the year.