5 Steelers players who could be in line for career years in 2024

The Steelers have been building hype for the moves they've made this offseason, and those moves could contribute to some players having career years.
AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Pittsburgh Steelers v Buffalo Bills
AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Pittsburgh Steelers v Buffalo Bills / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

The Steelers were very active this offseason, much more so than fans have grown accustomed to. They made some flashy moves on both sides of the ball, brought in a new offensive coordinator, and even overhauled the quarterback position.

It remains to be seen if these moves will be the catalyst for a deep playoff run or not. However, if there's anything that can be said about those moves, it is that there are several Steelers' that were set up to have career-best numbers this year as a result of them.

RBs Jaylen Warren & Najee Harris

It is no secret that the Steelers were a run-heavy team last year, but the team will likely lean into that even more this season, hopefully with more success out of the gate. Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren proved to be one of the league's most dynamic rushing tandems in the NFL last year, and that should not change this year.

The addition of Matt Canada should do wonders for these two, as he has proven to be very successful in establishing a strong running game, and a play-action game. Add in quarterback play that can only go up from where it was last year, and the offense as a whole should become more efficient. Not to mention the addition of Zach Frazier and Troy Fautanu.

Not to mention the addition of Zach Frazier and Troy Fautanu on the offensive line, and the fact that it's a contract year for Harris, and Warren will be an RFA after the season, and it's easy to see why both could be in for career years. The improved play-calling, quarterback play, and offensive line play make both players rushing for 1000 yards a legitimate possibility this season.

WR George Pickens

Of all the players on this list, the case for George Pickens having his best year as a pro is easily the most simple. The Steelers moved on from Diontae Johnson in the offseason, and to replace him they drafted Roman Wilson and added some veteran wide receivers for depth. While I believe Wilson will develop into a strong player at the pro level in the slot, it's undeniable that Pickens has less target competition than he has ever had.

While the Steelers will likely be in a run-heavy offense, they will utilize play action a lot more which should do wonders for the offense, and help create some bigger plays in the passing game. Additionally, while he is not what he once was, throwing deep and along the sidelines are Russell Wilson's biggest strengths. This is a perfect match for George Pickens' skillset.

Improved quarterback play and less target competition should lead to more targets and higher quality targets than he has received thus far in his NFL career. Those two are the perfect recipe for a career season for the third-year wide receiver out of Georgia.

TE Pat Freiermuth

While many will point to Pickens as the obvious beneficiary from the loss of Diontae Johnson, a more savvy thought maybe that Pat Freiermuth will garner a much bigger target share. Realistically both should happen assuming health, which has been the big knock on Freiermuth thus far in his career.

A lot has been said about the addition of Arthur Smith, but not only does he run the ball a lot, but he also throws the ball to his tight ends a lot. Freiermuth is still a young player at just 25 years old and is in the final year of his contract. If he can stay healthy, he should easily eclipse his career highs of 63 catches and 732 receiving yards.

He figures to be second in the pecking order for targets and should be a security blanket for Wilson, or Justin Fields. Upwards of 100 targets is definitely in the range of outcomes, and he should be a frequent target on third downs, and in the red zone for this offense, who Smith schemes up plays for.

CB Donte Jackson

The final name on this list is the only newcomer to the Steelers roster and the only one who is on the defensive side of the ball. Part of that is because the Steelers' most established players are on this side of the ball so it's harder for them to break out. However, Jackson is in an interesting position as the Steelers' number 2 cornerback in a contract year.

He has proven himself to be a solid starter in his NFL career, and with Joey Porter Jr. appearing to establish himself as one of the league's best young cover-corners, Jackson figures to see a lot of action his way. Playing on a Steelers defense that should generate a lot of pressure should help him, as he won't have to cover for as long, and the team has also had a knack for taking the ball away.

With a career-high of only 4 interceptions, surpassing that number this season should be in the realm of possibilities, assuming he holds his own out there. With more targets coming his way, and the help of Minkah Fitzpatrick over the top, he could make some splash plays for the Steelers this season and earn himself a nice payday next offseason as a free agent.

While the Steelers' roster is littered with talent, these five players possess the greatest combination of talent and opportunity to put forth their best statistical season as professionals this year. That makes each player pivotal to the team's success and should have a hand in attempting to get this team back to the postseason.