Steelers who could benefit from unfortunate season-ending injuries

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Miles Boykin (13) participates in organized team activities at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Miles Boykin (13) participates in organized team activities at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The Steelers had two quality players who recently suffered season-ending injuries. Here are the players who could benefit from this unfortunate situation. 

I don’t care who it is, you never want to see a player suffer a season-ending injury. Unfortunately, for the Pittsburgh Steelers, they lost two quality players who each stood a great chance at cracking the 53-man roster this year.

On Tuesday morning, DK Pittsburgh Sports reporter, Dale Lolley, confirmed that both Anthony Miller (shoulder) and Karl Joseph (ankle) had suffered season-ending injuries and would be headed to injured/reserve. This is an incredibly tough break for two players who could have had roles on the team in 2022.

Miller and Joseph weren’t star players; they weren’t even guaranteed to have roster spots this year. However, this situation is incredibly unfortunate for them nonetheless.

The only good news from this is that several other players will have big opportunities in their absence. Here are some Steelers who could benefit the most from Pittsburgh’s recent season-ending injuries to Anthony Miller and Karl Joseph:

Gunner Olszewski becomes a roster lock

To be fair to Gunner Olszewski, I thought he was a player who has been pretty firmly inside the roster bubble this whole time. Olszewski is a former All-Pro return man, and we know how much the Steelers value special teams ability. Additionally, Pittsburgh gave Olszewski a two-year, $4.2 million contract this offseason — a pretty good indication that he would stick around.

The only player who could have potentially pushed him off the roster, in my opinion, was Anthony Miller. Miller doesn’t have nearly as much experience as a return man but has had some success in this department. However, the former second-round draft choice by the Chicago Bears has seen much more success on offense.

Now that Miller is headed to IR, I don’t see a single scenario where Olszewski doesn’t make the team. Pencil him in as a roster lock this year.

Miles Boykin gets a break

In the past, the Steelers have only kept five receivers on their active roster. This was not good news for a player like Myles Boykin. With Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, George Pickens, and Calvin Austin each guaranteed roster spots, you could have argued that Boykin was on the outside looking in.

Even if the Steelers decide to keep a sixth receiver, this is a battle that likely would have been hard-fought to the end between Miller and Boykin. With Miller suffering a season-ending shoulder injury, Boykin now has a very clear path to a roster spot — likely as the added sixth receiver. He may not see much playing time on offense, but he’s always been a quality special teams coverage man — which gives him a leg up on a player like Steven Sims.

Miles Killebrew could retain his role on the Steelers

Prior to the season-ending ankle injury that Karl Joseph suffered early in the preseason game against the Seahawks, it seemed like Joseph had leapfrogged Miles Killebrew on the depth chart. At the very least, this would have been a battle that wasn’t decided until the final roster cuts.

While I’m sure he feels for his teammate, Miles Killebrew can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that his roster spot is likely safe. Joseph was Killebrew’s biggest competition for the backup strong safety role behind Terrell Edmunds. Now it looks like this could be Killebrew’s job without much competition. The Steelers won’t want him to see the field on defense often, but Killebrew is at least a very solid special teams player.

Tre Norwood’s role with the Steelers could increase

Tre Norwood already helped himself out with a phenomenal showing in his first preseason game of 2022. Despite being targeted 4 times, Norwood allowed 0 receptions and broke up two passes — one of which saved a touchdown.

This was after Norwood already had a pretty impressive rookie season in 2021 as a former seventh-round draft choice. Norwood is a true ‘defensive back’ by every sense of the definition. He can play both safety and cornerback. Meanwhile, Karl Joseph was a player who had a chance to carve out a role as an extra DB in dime packages — an area Norwood has seen a lot of work as well. Instead of potentially splitting snaps here, Norwood could get an increased opportunity in this role in 2022 with Joseph on IR.

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Obviously, fans and teammates wouldn’t wish a season-ending injury on anybody. However, it stands to reason that the unfortunate injuries to Anthony Miller and Karl Joseph will result in increased opportunities for other players, and these four Steelers could now benefit the most.