5 bold predictions for Steelers, AFC North in 2023

Steelers, Kenny Pickett
Steelers, Kenny Pickett / Nick Cammett/GettyImages
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1. Steelers have four rookies starting by mid-season

It's not often that a precarious team like the Pittsburgh Steelers will ever start four rookies together in a season. This is a team that prides themselves on veteran leadership and they are loyal to their players. Ironically, we saw this scenario play out just two years ago.

Following the 2021 NFL Draft, the Steelers saw four rookies starting by the end of the season -- Najee Harris, Pat Freiermuth, Kendrick Green, and Dan Moore Jr. Of course, this doesn't mean that all four were deserving of starting roles, as some were forced into action due to a lack of competition.

This time the Steelers could potentially get four rookie starters who legitimately deserve to be out there. Broderick Jones will start at left tackle sooner rather than later and Joey Porter Jr. is expected to assume a full-time role early in his career. In addition, Keeanu Benton could potentially play the most significant role from the gate as the team's starting nose tackle and chess piece along the defensive line.


This means that the Steelers would need just one more rookie starting to hit four on the season. While the Steelers don't list two tight ends as starters, Pittsburgh could be playing a lot of '12' personnel this year -- essentially making Darnell Washington a starting player. If not Washington, perhaps there's an outside chance that CB Cory Trice Jr. impresses enough to carve out a significant gig by the end of the season. Having four rookies starting on the Steelers by the end of the season isn't out of the question.