Power ranking the Steelers’ positional groups: Offense

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens (14) runs to score a touchdown on a pass reception against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the third quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Jacksonville won 20-10.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Where are the Steelers the strongest on offense?

Which Steelers positional groups are the strongest entering the 2024 season? We’ll be power ranking them in this two-part series, starting with the offense.

Invert the rankings, and you get a team needs list for the Steelers offense:

5. Wide receiver

Steelers wide receiver room: George Pickens, Roman Wilson, Calvin Austin, Van Jefferson, Scotty Miller, Quez Watkins, Dez Fitzpatrick, Marquez Callaway, Denzel Mims, Duece Watts.

George Pickens is good. Roman Wilson is an unproven commodity. Rounding out the rest of the top six are NFL-caliber WR4-5s. It could be worse, but there’s still a glaring hole at the top of the depth chart alongside Pickens and Wilson.

There’s a chance that, in Arthur Smith’s run-first offense, Pickens and Wilson are all the Steelers need at the position in 2024. But the team is just one injury away from a disaster at wide receiver.

4. Quarterback

Steelers quarterback room: Russell Wilson, Justin Fields, Kyle Allen, John Rhys Plumlee.

This group has the potential to make their way much higher up the list during the season. Wilson and Fields each have more talent than the Steelers’ 2023 quarterback room combined.

However, talent doesn’t guarantee results. Both quarterbacks are coming off years that convinced their former teams to move on from them, meaning that success isn’t a sure thing in 2024. Still, it’s likely that one of Wilson or Fields can provide the Steelers with the highest quality quarterback play the team has seen since Ben Roethlisberger — not a particularly high bar. But an improved wide receiver room would go a long way in helping the cause.

3. Tight end

Steelers tight end room: Pat Freiermuth, Darnell Washington, Connor Heyward, MyCole Pruitt, Rodney Williams.

Pat Freiermuth hasn’t quite developed into the consistent presence Steelers fans hoped he’d be, but there’s no denying he’s a quality player who should shine in Arthur Smith’s offense. Darnell Washington has a ways to go in the passing game, but he proved himself as a formidable blocker in his rookie season who should continue to earn reps in 2024.

Behind the top two is a rock-solid list of names who ensure the Steelers will have quality depth at tight end. Heyward is undersized but a solid pass-catcher with some positional versatility, Pruitt is a reliable veteran blocker, and Williams is a strong athlete who plays with a lot of effort. Pittsburgh doesn’t have the league’s best tight end room, but it’s far from a weakness.

2. Offensive line

Steelers offensive line room: Broderick Jones, Isaac Seumalo, Zach Frazier, James Daniels, Troy Fautanu, Dan Moore, Nate Herbig, Mason McCormick, Dylan Cook, Spencer Anderson, Ryan McCollum, Joey Fisher, Devery Hamilton, Anderson Hardy, Tyler Beach, Julius Welschof.

What a difference a year makes. The Steelers’ offensive line has gone from a major weakness in 2023 to one of the team’s top assets in 2024.

Seumalo and Daniels are among the league’s best guard combinations. Frazier is a plug-and-play center. Jones and Fautanu are admittedly projections, but both have the athleticism and pedigree to be good-to-great NFL tackles. The depth stands out as well, with Moore, Herbig, and McCormick all looking like players who could start in a pinch.

The Steelers have now invested substantial free agent money or a high draft pick into all five starting positions on their offensive line, and they should start seeing the benefits of that in 2024. Just give the group some time to gel, and the results could be special.

1. Running back

Steelers running back room: Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jonathan Ward, Aaron Shampklin, Daijun Edwards.

The Steelers’ top three at running back is truly special. Harris a reliable bruiser with top-notch ball security coming off his third straight thousand-yard season. Warren is a ruthlessly efficient change of pace back. And Patterson is a bruising runner despite his receiver background — and it doesn’t apply to this article, but his skills as a returner greatly boost his roster value. Ward, Shampklin, and Edwards could turn out to be quality depth additions down the road.

Filled with trusty veterans and a wide range of skillsets, the Steelers running back room looks to be among the league’s best once again. Pittsburgh is primed for a successful run-first approach in the upcoming season with strengths in the trenches and at running back.

How would you rank the Steelers’ offensive position groups? Join the Behind the Steel Curtain community and let us know in the comment section?

Steelers QB Russell Wilson ‘learned a lot’ during time in Denver

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) in action during the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers’ new quarterback is treating his challenges in Denver as a learning experience.

Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson evoked a Mike Tomlin-ism when talking to reporters Tuesday, saying he “didn’t blink” despite his experience with the Denver Broncos.

“I wouldn’t say I’m scalded,” he said at the Steelers’ OTAs. “I would say that if anything, I’ve learned a lot. And I think that internally, you get better, you get tougher — you use your experience and the challenges you’ve gone through to be the best version of you. So I don’t blink. I’m looking forward to the challenge and opportunity.”

Widely considered one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL during his time in Seattle, Wilson passed for over 37,000 yards from 2012 to 2021 and took the Seahawks to two Super Bowls, winning one.

However, his career took a sharp downturn after being traded to Denver before the 2022 season, with Wilson passing for a career-low 16 touchdowns in a 5-12 season. In 2023, Wilson and the Broncos improved to 8-9, but his play was still not up to par with his past self. Wilson and new head coach Sean Payton reportedly clashed, and the former was eventually benched for financial reasons and then cut following the season, signing with the Steelers.

Both respected and mocked for his relentlessly positive attitude throughout his career, Wilson seems to have the mindset to get his career back on track with a change of scenery. Now in Pittsburgh, he’ll have the inside track in a competition with Justin Fields for the Steelers’ starting quarterback position.