5 biggest strengths on Steelers roster

Pittsburgh loaded up on talent during the 2024 offseason; Here are their five biggest roster strengths this year.
Arizona Cardinals v Pittsburgh Steelers
Arizona Cardinals v Pittsburgh Steelers / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

It didn't take long for Omar Khan and Andy Weidl to reshape the Pittsburgh Steelers' roster. Since taking over the front office, Khan and Weidl have added players like Isaac Seumalo and Patrick Queen in free agency while loading up on talent in the NFL Draft in back-to-back years.

Some positions that were the biggest weaknesses on the roster are now the team's greatest strengths. While we still need to see how things will play out, it's easy to gauge the top positions on the Steelers' roster heading into the summer.

Based on the strength of the starting unit and depth at the position, I have ranked the five biggest strengths on the Steelers roster in 2024. Let's start with number five.

5. Safety

Minkah Fitzpatrick wasn't himself last year. Most of this was due to injuries. In Week 8, Minkah exited the contest after just 8 defensive snaps and would go on to miss the following four weeks with a hamstring injury. In Week 15, Fitzpatrick played just 22 snaps against the Colts before sustaining a knee injury and missing the rest of the regular season.

There's more than enough reason to believe that the safety position will be significantly better in 2024.

For starters, 27-year-old Minkah Fitzpatrick is healthy and ready to go in the prime of his NFL career. He will also have a much-improved counterpart next to him in the back end of the defense. DeShon Elliott was signed to be a significant upgrade over the combination of Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee.

The depth is also a strength, as Kazee is still on the roster and Trenton Thompson showed promise when called upon briefly last season. The Steelers also have Miles Killebrew -- an All-Pro special teams player who doesn't see the field much defensively. Ultimately, a healthy Minkah and DeShon Elliott could make one of the better safety tandems in the NFL this year.

4. Running back

Safety is looking stronger than it did in 2023, but so does the running back position. This comes in as the Steelers' fourth-best positional group this year after finding the perfect piece to round out the roster.

We can assume that new OC Arthur Smith is going to rely on a heavy rotation between Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren. Both players should see improvement in a post-Matt Canada era behind the new-and-improved offensive line.

From there, we factor in the addition of Cordarrelle Patterson -- a future Hall of Fame kick returner. Patterson is 33 years old (which is ancient for today's NFL running back), but he's still proven to be an excellent player for Arthur Smith in his early 30s, and he won't be called upon often unless an injury occurs.

The combination of Harris, Warren, and Patterson makes an extremely stout trio of running backs who each offer something different to the team. There's more than enough reason to be confident in the RB position in 2024.

3. Linebacker

It's hard to believe that, entering the 2023 offseason, this team was coming off a season where Myles Jack, Devin Bush, and Robert Spillane were the linebackers Pittsburgh was forced to deploy. Heck, even last year, the Steelers had no option but to play linebackers like Mykal Walker, Myles Jack, and Mark Robinson when Kwon Alexander and Cole Holcomb went down with season-ending injuries.

Fast forward several months and things look completely different. Now it's hard to argue that off-ball linebacker isn't one of the top three positions on the Steelers roster. Pittsburgh added Patrick Queen in free agency, who is coming off the best season of his career at just 24 years old and made the Pro Bowl in 2023.

After investing in the LB position, fans were shocked to see them land arguably the best linebacker in the nation when they selected Payton Wilson with the 98th overall pick in the third round of the NFL Draft. Wilson fell due to his concerning medical history, but he was healthy for two straight seasons before entering the NFL.

When you pair Queen and Wilson with Holcomb and Elandon Roberts, you have a linebacker room that is suddenly four-deep at the position with players of different skill sets who offer everything the team needs. This has the potential to be one of the better LB units in the league if all four players can stay healthy.

2. Offensive line

I don't always lump the offensive line together as one 'position'; obviously, this can be broken down further into offensive tackle, guard, and center. However, the collective unit has made significant strides over the past two seasons, and we could see a monumental improvement from the whole starting OL in 2024.

After a 26-year drought without taking an offensive tackle in the first round, Omar Khan invested first-round picks in the offensive tackle position in back-to-back years with Broderick Jones and Troy Fautanu. Just last season, Dan Moore Jr. and Chukwuma Okorafor were the starters until the bye week.

Additionally, the Steelers are suddenly loaded at guard with Isaac Seumalo, James Daniels, Nate Herbig, Mason McCormick, and Spencer Anderson. Herbig may be backing up the center position this year, and fans are hoping the Steelers found their center of the future in Zach Frazier.

While the starting unit will need time to mesh, this is a strong group and the depth is outstanding. I have the offensive line as the second-best unit on the Steelers roster entering 2024.

1. Edge defender

When you consider that T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith make up one of the best pass-rush tandems at one of the game's most important positions, it's hard to have the edge defender position ranked anywhere besides number one for Pittsburgh.

Last year, Watt finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting, and many thought the NFL's sack leader was robbed of earning the award for the second straight year. Meanwhile, Highsmith saw his production dip in 2023, but his efficiency in terms of generating pressure as a pass rusher was better than it has ever been.

After Watt and Highsmith, Steelers fans look forward to seeing Nick Herbig in Year 2. The former Wisconsin star slipped in the 2023 NFL Draft because of his size, but he was electrifying when he saw the field in his first season.

The Steelers are only three deep at the position, and we don't know if there will be a fourth edge defender worthy of taking up a roster spot. But the top three are as good as any you will find in the NFL. This is once again Pittsburgh's biggest strength on their roster.