NFL teams are now down to just 53 players on their roster for the start of the season, but the Pittsburgh Steelers have some serious depth issues.
The Pittsburgh Steelers now have their roster down to just 53 players. There will be some tweaks here and there as a few injured players could be stashed on IR and the team could promote players from the practice squad in their place for the time being. However, the roster you see, for the most part, is the one you are going to get in 2022.
Unfortunately, the Steelers still have some depth issues that should make us feel uneasy. If starters were to go down at certain positions, Pittsburgh could really be in trouble this year.
As much as fans would have liked them to, the Steelers didn’t make any waiver claims after roster cuts. However, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t look to sign any free agents prior to the start of the season. Here are some major depth issues that could still use an upgrade following cuts:
Steelers desperately need to upgrade cornerback depth
I don’t know how anyone could feel overly confident about the depth of this cornerback room. In nickel defense, I think the combination of Ahkello Witherspoon, Cameron Sutton, and Levi Wallace will be serviceable. However, if one of these players were to get injured for an extended period of time, we could be in real trouble.
I’ve seen enough of Arthur Maulet and James Pierre to know that they are not players I want to see on the field very often. The Steelers kept just five cornerbacks, but they should be searching to upgrade the depth at an important position like this.
Offensive line depth is weak despite trade
I knew the Steelers needed to do something to try to improve their offensive line and I wasn’t opposed to trading for a player. Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of newcomer, Jesse Davis. Despite his starting experience and position flexibility, Davis has simply not been very good at any point in his NFL career, and at almost 31 years old, I’m not convinced that will change.
Even with this addition, the Steelers have just OG Kendrick Green and OC J.C. Hassenauer next to Davis as the backup offensive linemen this year. Joe Haeg was released to make room for Davis. If we thought the starters looked bad this preseason, you’re not going to want to see what the OL looks like when one of these guys has to step in the game.
Steelers could use more safety depth with Kazee out
Damontae Kazee was looking so good in Latrobe this offseason, it appeared that he was on track to be the primary back at both free safety and strong safety. Sadly, a severe wrist/arm injury in the preseason finale will keep him out of commission for as long as six weeks.
Matters are worse when you consider that Karl Joseph also landed on IR after the preseason opener. This gives the Steelers just Tre Norwood and Miles Killebrew as the only depth pieces at the safety position. Killebrew is more of a special teams guy, while Norwood is a versatile DB who is expected to play in dime packages. They can get by with this if they must, but the safety depth is pretty thin.
Trade for Reed might not be enough improvement
The trade for Broncos edge defender Malik Reed is pretty low risk (considering the Steelers only swapped their sixth-round pick for a seventh-rounder), but I’m still not convinced that the team did enough to improve the position.
The success of the defense revolves around getting pressure on the quarterback. Last year, both Watt and Highsmith missed some time with injuries, and the Steelers could really use another edge defender who can give them a lift. Maybe Reed proves to be enough, but I would have liked for the team to reach a little bit higher here when making a move.
At this point, Mike Tomlin and Omar Kahn might feel like the roster is pretty much finalized. However, I would urge them to consider the lack of depth at these positions and look to upgrade immediately. If the Pittsburgh Steelers have to count on bench players to step up at these positions in 2022, they could be in big trouble.