5 Pittsburgh Steelers players poised to improve in 2023

One player has nowhere to go but up; a 2022 rookie without a plan will figure things out in year two.

Steelers, Najee Harris
Steelers, Najee Harris / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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2. George Pickens will hone in on his craft

It was hard not to come away impressed with what George Pickens was able to accomplish in 2022. According to Next Gen Stats, Pickens joined some rare company as his catch rate was more than 10 percent higher than what was expected. This has only been the case for a handful of players, including names like Stefon Diggs and DeAndre Hopkins.

In this area, it's hard to expect much improvement (if any) from Pickens, and he's already a beast at the catch point. However, Pickens still has a ton of work to do both as a route runner and when it comes to gaining yards after the catch.

These are two areas in which Pickens ranked near the very bottom of the league. He simply didn't create separation and rarely made big plays with the ball in his hands. Fortunately, these things can be improved. Some of this even has to do with the play design and the fact that Pickens had the most bland route tree in the NFL last season.

Now that he has a year of experience under his belt, Matt Canada can open up the playbook a bit more and use his most talented receiver across the middle of the field. Assuming Pickens improves his route-running in year two, he's going to unlock a whole new level of potential in 2023.