Steelers are now loaded with youth across the board on offense

George Pickens #1 of the Georgia Bulldogs. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
George Pickens #1 of the Georgia Bulldogs. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Steelers got significantly younger over the past few months. Here’s why they now have one of the youngest offenses in the NFL.

It’s crazy how fast things can change in the NFL. Just a few years ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers had one of the oldest offenses in the league. 2019 wasn’t that far away in the rearview mirror, yet this unit already looks entirely different.

Three years ago, Pittsburgh’s offense consisted of aging players like Ben Roethlisberger (who landed on IR in 2019), Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, and David DeCastro. At the time, this group of core offensive starters averaged in at over 32 years old — raising the total average age of offense.

Now there’s a chance that there might not be a single offensive player on Pittsburgh’s starting lineup over the age of 25 to begin the 2022 season. After doing a little research, here are the ages of the Steelers current top offensive players following the NFL Draft:

Obviously, some new acquisitions really helped bring down the average age of an offensive starter on the Steelers. Pittsburgh got a 21-year-old wide receiver in George Pickens while adding more youth in WR Calvin Austin. Though Kenny Pickett was considered an old a prospect coming out, he’s still roughly 15 years younger than Ben Roethlisberger was last season.

I don’t remember the last time we have seen an entire side of the football have this much youth on a Steelers roster. With youth typically comes more upside, but too much of it isn’t always a good thing.

How should we feel about Steelers youthful offense?

I think all fans have the right to be excited for the beginning of a new era in Pittsburgh. Though this team looks very different than the one we’ve seen over the past three or four seasons, we gladly welcome the change at this point.

The fact that this offense is so young gives us reason to believe that the potential for their ceiling could still be pretty high. Couple this with the fact that Pittsburgh is loaded with athletic players across the board, and that’s something to get excited about.

However, too much youth isn’t necessarily a good thing. Most of the veterans who brought experience and offered guidance and leadership are no longer with the team. While these are characteristics that really can’t be measured objectively, we have to wonder which players will step up as leaders in their place.

Look at the receiving corps, for example. Diontae Johnson is the veteran of the group, but he’s likely going to be focused on working hard to have a great season in 2022 to earn a sizeable paycheck next year (and I can’t say that I really blame him).

The offensive line is the same way. Joe Haeg might be the most seasoned of the group that makes the final roster, but it might be hard to have a leadership role when it’s all younger guys starting ahead of you.

At 27 years old, Mitch Trubisky is somehow one of the oldest players on the offense. It will be interesting to see if his teammates rally behind him. However, this is assuming that he does win the starting QB job to begin the season.

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I’m very excited for a new era and a fresh start for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but I’m also a little nervous. The collective inexperience of this group could really show up at times, and they are going to need some new leaders to fill the void of the veterans lost on offense over the past several years.