5 Steelers players who can't afford to regress in 2023

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens (14)
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens (14) / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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The Steelers are in a critical position this season. They seemingly have their franchise quarterback on a rookie deal, and the Super Bowl window has to be open while they have their signal caller on a friendly deal. That starts this season.

While I have plenty of skepticism as to how this team will ultimately produce this year, I do think they are firmly a playoff team. Once there, anything can happen. That said, their success is hinged on the success of certain players.

While everyone naturally has a role, some players need to continue to grow and improve upon their previous season. While names like T.J. Watt, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Cameron Heyward, and Alex Highsmith all need to maintain their productivity, there are other players whom the team can’t afford to see bad seasons from. Here are the five Steelers players that can’t regress this season.

Steelers need James Daniels to remain consistent

James Daniels was a big-name free-agent addition from a year ago. He was brought in with the hopes of stabilizing the line, and for the most part, he did on his side. Daniels was arguably the best lineman this team fielded, and I am excited to see him grow into his role.

Daniels seemingly struggled with being on a new team and learning a new scheme last offseason. He was a notable loser during training camp, but he found his legs early and was a productive player down the stretch. While the line struggled last year, Daniels was a bright spot.

He needs to continue to get better (he is young enough to see more improvement), and he can’t fade as a player either. This line was once again a focus of the offseason, and while the entire play should improve, Daniels needs to continue to step up and get better. The offense really can’t afford to see him regress during his second season in Pittsburgh.