5 nightmare scenarios for Pittsburgh Steelers in 2023

Pittsburgh Steelers, T.J. Watt
Pittsburgh Steelers, T.J. Watt / Michael Hickey/GettyImages
2 of 5

4. Steelers rookie class doesn't live up to expectations

You'll be hardpressed to find many NFL experts who weren't raving about Pittsburgh's draft haul in 2023. After fleecing the Bears in the Chase Claypool trade before the deadline, the Steelers turned the 32nd overall pick into Joey Porter Jr. while managing to land talents like OT Broderick Jones, DL Keeanu Benton, TE Darnell Washington, LB Nick Herbig, and CB Cory Trice Jr.

On paper, the Steelers found as much value in the draft as any team in the league. But because expectations are so high, these rookies may not live up to projections during the 2023 season. Jones isn't a sure thing to start at left tackle from the gate. When he does lock down the job, he could go through growing pains due to his lack of refined technique and experience.

Meanwhile, Porter could begin his career as just a subpackage cornerback, and both Washington and Trice have medical concerns. There are also plenty who believe that Herbig isn't going to be able to hold up as an edge defender for the Steelers.

This could still prove to be a great draft class for the Steelers (as fans expect), but that doesn't guarantee that this rookie class will make a big impact from Day 1 or that their contributions to the team will be all positive in 2023. If they don't live up to lofty expectations from the gate, it could limit Pittsburgh's ceiling this year.