The Pittsburgh Steelers released their official depth chart ahead of the 2022 season. Here are the most interesting takeaways.
During training camp and the preseason, we try not to read too deeply into the pecking order the Pittsburgh Steelers use in determining which players are running with the first team and who gets the most snaps. There are numerous factors that go into this. However, when the team released its first official depth chart for the 2022 season, I was intrigued.
While many fans could have predicted Pittsburgh’s starting lineup based on what we have seen over the summer, there were some curveballs thrown to us. Here are the most interesting takeaways from the Steelers initial depth chart:
Mason Rudolph was originally named Steelers QB2
This decision has many fans up in arms, but I would urge you not to overthink it. As expected, Mitch Trubisky was labeled the starter to begin the season (he was also selected as a team captain). Most expected Kenny Pickett to be the backup based on where he was playing in the preseason and his performance over the summer.
This appeared to be a job that would belong to Mason Rudolph for the time being. Some think this was an effort to try to increase his trade value, but I don’t think so. Rather, I think the Steelers feel more comfortable with Rudolph coming into the game in a pinch if Trubisky were to go down with an injury. If Trubisky has to miss multiple weeks, Pickett will be the guy. They just want to make sure that when he does see the field, he has a full week to prepare.
Since the initial depth chart release, the Steelers have ‘updated’ it. Now Pickett is listed as the QB2 here. The team only dresses two, so it will be interesting to see what they do here.
Jaylen Warren RB2 over Benny Snell
Apart from a touchdown catch and a special teams tackle during the preseason, Benny Snell was expectedly unimpressive — particularly when running the football. In fact, you could make the case that he didn’t deserve a roster spot and that his ability to carve out a role on special teams is what saved him.
After watching Snell underwhelm for three straight years, I was very excited to see undrafted rookie, Jaylen Warren, listed as the primary backup behind Najee Harris. This is a good sign that he now projects to see the second-most carries in the backfield and would likely see a bulk of the action if Harris were to go down with an injury at some point this year.
Trent Scott backing up left tackle, Jesse Davis right tackle
Of all the depth situations on the Steelers this year, this is one of the worst. While Trent Scott and Jesse Davis have both been around the league for a while now, neither player has been very good. I still think that Davis is best as a guard, but Pittsburgh has him as the backup right tackle — taking the place of Joe Haeg.
While I’m certainly not crazy about Scott backing up Dan Moore, this would still be better than the tape I’ve seen of Davis at left tackle. It looks like the Steelers are keeping two backup tackles this year, but believe me when I say that you do not want to see these guys on the field.
Kendrick Green is Steelers only backup guard
This was a particularly interesting decision. Despite splitting first-team reps with Kendrick Green this summer, Kendrick Green was absolutely abysmal during the preseason. His glaring weakness comes from his inability to anchor against power. In fact, Green played poorly enough that he probably would have lost his spot on the roster had it not been for his third-round draft status keeping him afloat.
The Steelers cut John Leglue and signed him to the practice squad, which means that Green is the only backup guard on the team. I am not a fan of this decision. Green has never even taken a snap at right guard during training camp, and if James Daniels goes down, he’s the guy projected to fill in. We might not love the OL, but they need to stay healthy.
Loudermilk and Leal listed as co-backups behind Cameron Heyward
For the first time in ten years, the Steelers elected to keep a seventh interior defender on their roster for the season. I wondered how the pecking order was ultimately going to shape up. As of now, the team has second-year defender Isaiahh Loudermilk and rookie DeMarvin Leal listed as the co-backups behind Cameron Heyward. I would expect each of them to carve out a rotational role in 2022.
Cameron Sutton listed as starting RCB over Levi Wallace
Of all the depth chart decisions, this one makes me the most nervous. Ahkello Witherspoon is going to be Steelers starting left cornerback, as expected. However, it’s Cam Sutton who is listed as the starter across from him — not Levi Wallace.
Additionally, Arthur Maulet — who really struggled last year in coverage — is listed as the starting nickel cornerback. I think a lineup of Witherspoon and Wallace on the outside with Sutton in the slot is much better than Witherspoon and Sutton on the outside with Maulet in the slot. Unfortunately, it’s looking like we could be seeing this in 2022.
The rest of the depth chart was pretty self-explanatory, but some of these decisions by Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers were interesting, to say the least. Let’s remember that this is just the initial depth chart and it’s certainly subject to change throughout the season.