5 biggest storylines to follow at Steelers OTAs

Pittsburgh is beginning their Organized Team Activities. Here are the biggest storylines to watch at Steelers OTAs in 2024.
Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers
Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

Organized Team Activities for the Pittsburgh Steelers are beginning, and there are plenty of notes to take from now until June 6th when their final day of OTAs concludes. While these team activities are not open to the public, we will hear information about where players are lining up, what the offense looks like, and where players stand on the depth chart.

It will be hard to gain a lot of concrete information from now until the start of training camp late in July, but there are no shortage of storylines to follow as Organized Team Activites begin. Here are the five biggest topics to keep tabs on during Steelers OTAs.

Cameron Heyward's contract situation

Cameron Heyward announced on a podcast that he will not be participating in Steelers OTAs thi year as he seeks a new contract extension. Heyward is set to play on the final year of his deal he signed back in 2020, and with no guaranteed money left on his current contract, he wants an extension before the 2024 season starts.

While the Steelers appear to hold leverage over an aging players who recorded just 2.0 sacks in 11 games last season and dealt with injuries, Heyward is projected to make $19.6 million in new annual earnings on his next deal, according to Spotrac.com. Pittsburgh may want to take care of this before it becomes a distraction, but Heyward won't be at Steelers OTAs, and this could linger into training camp.

Arthur Smith's new offense

Steelers players are already raving about Arthur Smith's new offense. I guess this is what happens when they've been stuck with Matt Canada as OC for three straight seasons. We are most interested to see what alignments Smith will deploy and which players will be working with the first-team offense.

We want to know if Troy Fautanu will be the left or right tackle for Pittsburgh, how much work TE Darnell Washington gets with the starting unit, and the structure of the offense in general. We will also look to see how first-team looks are distributed between running backs Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren this year.

Steelers pecking order at wide receiver

The wide receiver has been a major topic of discussion among Pittsburgh Steelers fans since early in the offseason. The need at the position exploded when Dionate Johnson was traded to the Carolina Panthers.

Pittsburgh has a number of new free agent receivers in Van Jefferson, Quez Watkins, and Scotty Miller, as well as a third-round draft choice in Roman Wilson. Fans want to see what the plan is for their new-look wide receiver room during Steelers OTAs and where each player falls in the pecking order on the depth chart.

Pittsburgh's plan at cornerback

The Steelers seem to lack a plan at the cornerback position. We know that Joey Porter Jr. will be their top CB this year and that Donte Jackson is expected to work opposite him. After that, it's anybody's guess.

Fans want to see what the plan is at slot cornerback. The team added UDFA Beanie Bishop and veteran Anthony Averett who could compete for the nickel CB job. They also have a number of young, long, athletic cornerback who could look for subpackage work like Cory Trice Jr., Darius Rush, and rookie Ryan Watts.

Opportunities for Steelers 2024 rookie class

Last year, Pittsburgh's 2023 draft class was called upon, and players like Porter, Keeanu Benton, and Broderick Jones all ended up playing big roles. We can expect the same from an equally talented draft class in 2024.

Troy Fautanu and Zach Frazier could work as Day 1 starters on the offensive line, while WR Roman Wilson and LB Payton Wilson could be thrust into big roles early in their careers. We could get a feel for whow they will be used during Steelers OTAs.