Ranking all 8 of the Steelers rookie play so far in 2021

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth (88). Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth (88). Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports /
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Buddy Johnson #51 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

With the Steelers rookie playing at an unprecedented level, here is an updated ranking of the entire rookie class.

The Steelers have gotten quite a bit of play out of their rookies this season, even if it all hasn’t been great. Besides one of their draft picks, this class has seen a large number of snaps and for the most part, the results have been good. Now over halfway through the season, here is an updated ranking of the rookie class.

Steelers Buddy Johnson

While the entire rookie class has seen a significant amount of work so far this year, the lone exception has been Buddy Johnson. This isn’t as much as his fault as it is just how deep the team is at off-ball linebacker. The Steelers have three players that they let see the field on defense while the other two options are core special teams. Having five capable off-ball linebackers has made it almost impossible for Johnson to see the field.

Long-term, there are some traits worth developing with Johnson. While only a fourth-round pick, Johnson has great size and athleticism for an off-ball linebacker. He has coverage struggles, but those skills can hopefully be developed over time. Johnson has the ability to be a contributor once the heard thins out at linebacker.

With Devin Bush struggling as he has, it could set up for an interesting battle between the field and Bush next offseason. Johnson should insert himself into that battle given his talent and ability to stop the run. While his rookie season improving much doesn’t seem likely, long-term Johnson should be a decent defender. That said, he is clearly the worst of the class so far due to his inability to see the field.