3 positive takeaways from Steelers OTAs and 2 concerns

We've learned a lot from Steelers OTAs, but not everything is encouraging.
Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

The Pittsburgh Steelers put the finishing touches on Organized Team Activities as they set their sights toward mandatory minicamp. The further we progress into the summer, the more we will learn about this team in 2024.

Fans are eager to see how Arthur Smith's new offense will look after three unbearably dull years of Matt Canada as the Steelers' offensive coordinator; and, of course, they want to see a battle between Pittsburgh's high-profile quarterbacks, Justin Fields and Russell Wilson.

Steelers OTAs haven't given us an answer to our biggest training camp questions, but there were some takeaways -- both positive and negative -- that we've gleaned from Pittsburgh's Organized Team Activities this year.

Positive takeaways from Steelers OTAs:

Roman Wilson looks the part of a WR2

From a stature standpoint, Roman Wilson might not be the prototype WR2 (he stands at 5'10 3/4'' with a small 72 1/2'' wingspan). However, he looks the part on the field. Wilson is notably explosive out of his stance and his change of direction ability is top-notch.

We already knew that Wilson had great hands, this was evidenced by just one drop as Michigan's No. 1 receiver last year. We don't want to put too much stock into football in shorts, but the 2024 third-round pick looks extremely promising so far.

Steelers tight ends primed for bigger role

If you were disappointed in the tiny role the Steelers' tight ends had on offense last year, you're not alone. Pat Freiermuth looked to be headed for a huge breakout year after becoming the first tight end in NFL history to earn 60+ receptions in each of his first two seasons. That didn't happen.

Though Freiermuth dealt with injuries throughout the season, he was seldom utilized when healthy and his production saw a major dip. No other tight end was featured either. Fans were hoping to see Canada take advantage of Darnell Washington's impressive skill set, but that didn't happen.

At Steelers OTAs, the tight ends were raving about new OC Arthur Smith and they clearly believe the group as a whole is primed for a bigger role in 2024. This would be a good sign for a team with talent at the position.

Steelers quarterbacks offer leadership and promise

We still have no idea how Pittsburgh's new quarterbacks will perform or even which player will be leading the charge by the end of the season. Fortunately, things are looking encouraging so far thanks to leadership and promise at the position.

Wilson and Fields have taken charge at Steelers OTAs, while the latter routinely flashed his arm talent during Organized Team Activities. The collection of Wilson and Fields is expected to be an instant upgrade over Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubiksy, and Mason Rudolph. This is a low bar, but even a small upgrade could make a big difference to the offense.

Concerning takeaways from Steelers OTAs:

Broderick Jones is playing musical chairs at offensive tackle

I don't know about you, but I'm not a big fan of playing a raw former first-round pick at multiple positions this early in his career. During Steelers OTAs, Broderick Jones has split reps at left and right tackle, and we still don't know for sure where he will be playing this year.

Almost as bad is that Jones appears to be the 'swing' tackle. If Jones plays left tackle (where many project him to be) and rookie Troy Fautanu gets hurt, it looks like Jones will be forced to flip back over to the right side, thanks to Dan Moore's ineptitude at the position.

Jones needs a lot of work, reps, technique, and coaching to refine his craft. Forcing him to be proficient at both tackle spots this early in his NFL career is not the best strategy.

Najee Harris supposed weight loss is a bad thing

According to Nick Farabaugh of Steelers Now, Najee Harris looks skinner this year at OTAs and he has supposedly lost weight. But I'm not taking this as a good thing as many fans will.

The best part of Najee's game is his physicality. He can shrug off tacklers or send them flying with a devastating stiff arm. However, he's just not fast, and losing some weight isn't going to change that. What shedding pounds could do is take away his edge as a huge, bruising running back.

Weight loss worked for Le'Veon Bell back in the day (who was a much quicker and more elusive player, to begin with). Because of the way Najee wins, he's best keeping the weight on to hold as big of an advantage as possible against today's smaller NFL linebackers.