Not every NFL team is guaranteed to show improvement from year to year. Oftentimes, teams who are talked up for their roster improvements end up being colossal letdowns (think of the Cleveland Browns in recent years). However, when we diagnose individual players and the situations they are entering in 2023, it's clear to see which players are poised to improve. Such is the case for a handful of Pittsburgh Steelers players in 2023.
Last year certainly didn't go according to plan, and there were a number of players who came up short of expectations. This year, the outlook is very different. Roster improvements and projected leaps from important cornerstones should play a significant factor in 2023. Here are five Steelers poised to improve this season.
*All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.
5. Najee Harris will be aided by his new-look OL
Those who are boxscore checkers fail to see the flaws in Najee Harris early in his NFL career. Yes, the former first-round pick has rushed for over 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons to kick off his NFL journey, but this has largely been a volume stat. When it comes to efficiency, Harris has ranked near the bottom of starting running backs in most statistical categories over the past two seasons.
Najee's lack of breakaway speed factors into his abysmal explosive-play rate, but even without a top gear in the open field, having an improved offensive line should help him make a big leap in year three. Last season, the OL was able to put together some respectable performances down the stretch after a dismal start to the season.
Going from players like Dan Moore Jr. and Kevin Dotson to Broderick Jones and Isaac Seumalo should have a huge impact on the offensive line. The Steelers also added mammoth TE Darnell Washington who will be used as an inline blocker. All of these factors plus a fully healthy Najee Harris in 2023 should attribute to improvement for the workhorse running back in 2023.