Defensive grades for Steelers and their rivals entering 2022 draft
By Austin Lloyd
Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive Grade: B
Unlike Cleveland, the Pittsburgh Steelers have a multitude of established game-changers on their defense. Cameron Heyward, T.J. Watt, and Minkah Fitzpatrick (the first two being both Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections last season) are just a few of the names that come to mind when thinking about this stacked squad.
All of that goes without even mentioning the Steelers recent offseason moves, some of which have resulted in the acquisition of intimidating defenders like cornerback Levi Wallace and linebacker Myles Jack.
But while the arsenal may appear to be overflowing on paper, Pittsburgh’s main problem last season was team execution. Sure, T.J. Watt tied Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record, Alex Highsmith began to stand out as a menacing linebacker, and the aforementioned Fitzpatrick kept his title as one of the best safeties in the game. Team stats don’t show those things, though.
Instead, the Steelers total defensive numbers for the 2021-22 season depicted a mediocre passing defense combined with what was one of the worst rushing defenses in the entire league, donning the most rushing yards allowed (both in total and per carry).
The Pittsburgh Steelers defense looks brutal but, as it has before, that could very easily mean nothing by the time the season rolls around. The roster has both the physicality and experience to succeed, but until the fans can actually see that happen, its grade will suffer.