The Steelers' defensive core is solidified for years to come
With last year's pricey extensions for All Pro TJ Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Steelers have three of their youngest stars on defense secured for the next several years. The Steelers' brass is clearly emphasizing maintaining the franchise's vaunted reputation that started with the Steel Curtain. The team's choice of draft picks this past spring (Joey Porter Jr. & Corey Trice) makes that abundantly clear.
Those who have been critical of this deal and Highsmith, in general, have tried to argue that Highsmith's production is only a byproduct of having an all-world pass rusher on the opposite end. While Watt wreaking havoc on the other edge is a clear positive for Alex Highsmith, it isn't the only reason for his production. In seven games without TJ Watt in 2022, Alex Highsmith registered four sacks, five tackles for loss, five quarterback hits, and 21 total pressures, via Josh Carney on Twitter.
With just three seasons under his belt so far, Highsmith is quickly resembling the last Pittsburgh pass rusher that struck fear into the hearts of quarterbacks while also wearing the number 56. With TJ Watt on the other end, it feels like the second coming of James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley.
This generation's duo may prove to be even more talented. If they can find a way to lead the Steelers back to the promised land and bring home a seventh Lombardi trophy, this current Steelers' pash rush combo will go down in history as one of the best.