It's easy to expect a lot from some of the best players in the game. When healthy, we assume that T.J. Watt is going to be a game-wrecker. We also expect players like Cameron Heyward and Minkah Fitzpatrick to show up and make big plays in crucial moments. But what about the Pittsburgh Steelers players with just average reputations?
Oftentimes, we get our hopes up and are disappointed and players don't live up to the hype. This has happened several times in the past with players like Myles Jack and Trai Turner. At the same time, there are always a few players on the team who surprise us with their performances. Here are three Steelers players who will have fans pleasantly surprised by what they will bring in 2023.
3. LB Cole Holcomb
With a number of quality off-ball linebackers available to begin free agency, Cole Holcomb probably wasn't the player that most fans were eyeing for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The former Commanders linebacker suffered a season-ending injury just seven games into the 2022 season and his status as just a former fifth-round pick doesn't make him the most well-known commodity at the position.
While Holcomb hasn't exactly been a Pro Bowler early in his NFL career, he does have some traits that could really pop for Pittsburgh in 2023. Holcomb is outstanding at reading and diagnosing the play, and he's an exceptional sideline-to-sideline athlete.
In 2021, Holcomb quietly recorded 142 tackles 2 forced fumbles, 7 pass defenses, 2 interceptions, and a defensive touchdown in 16 games, per ESPN stats. This is more splash than Myles Jack and Devin Bush offered last year combined.
Holcomb turns 27 years old this summer and he knows that this is a perfect opportunity to really put his name on the map. This high-energy linebacker could quickly become a fan favorite if played like he did for Washington before suffering the foot injury last season.