3 early and shockingly bold predictions for the Steelers in 2023

  • T.J. Watt could break his own record this year
  • Pat Freiermuth could join elite company

Steelers, Kenny Pickett
Steelers, Kenny Pickett / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Pittsburgh Steelers fans are getting pumped for the 2023 season, and justifiably so. During Omar Khan's first offseason as general manager, the Steelers filled some glaring holes in free agency before loading up on talent by targeting important positions at great value in the NFL Draft.

In addition to their projected roster improvements, Pittsburgh has some promising young players on the verge of breaking out as well as pivotal players returning at healthy and primed for big seasons. These players will play an intricate role in 2023.

The summer is about making some bold and optimistic predictions. I tend to be a realist most of the time, but there's no harm in getting our hopes up before the season. Here are three shockingly bold predictions for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2023.

3. T.J. Watt breaks his own sack record

This won't be an easy feat, but if anyone is going to earn upwards of 22.5 sacks in 2023, it's T.J. Watt. Whether he's getting to the quarterback in under 2.5 seconds or cleaning up in pursuit, nobody wants it more than Watt. His athletic ability combined with his outstanding arsenal of pass rush moves will help him get to the quarterback frequently.

Of course, health is the biggest factor here. Watt hasn't played more than 15 games in a season since 2019. Last year, he suffered the biggest injury of his pro career so far when he landed on IR with a pectoral tear. Now Watt is back and ready to pounce at the opportunity for a bounce-back year.

Even when he was dealing with hip, knee, and groin issues in 2021, he still managed to tie Michael Strahan for the single-season sack record despite missing two games -- all the while earning Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Watt turns 29 years old in October, but he's still in the prime of his career. If he can play a 17-game season for the first time in his career, there's plenty of reason to believe that he could break his own sack record in 2023.