5 Steelers under the most pressure entering the 2023 season

Steelers, Diontae Johnson
Steelers, Diontae Johnson / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
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Pressure can burst pipes or make diamonds. There are a few Steelers players who will put that theory to the test during the 2023 season. Most NFL players deal with a certain amount of pressure, but there are definitely some who feel it more than others.

The Steelers have a few of those players on the roster. Whether they're fighting for a starting job or for a spot on the team going forward, here are the five Steelers players facing the most pressure entering the 2023 season.

1. Diontae Johnson

Some could say Diontae Johnson has been under pressure since he was drafted. Johnson was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2019 draft, a few months after Antonio Brown was traded. Many fans unfairly expected Johnson to fill that role. It's been an up-and-down few seasons for Johnson.

In 2021, Johnson had 107 receptions for 1,161 yards and 8 touchdowns and was named to the Pro Bowl. Last season, Johnson's numbers dipped, as he had 86 receptions for 882 yards and a shocking 0 touchdowns. Drops have been an issue for the majority of Johnson's career, as he had nine in both 2021 and 2022.

Johnson's lack of production last season could be for a variety of reasons. First, he was catching passes from two different quarterbacks, including a rookie. That's very different than catching passes from Ben Roethlisberger. Second, the scheme was different, In 2021, Johnson was a huge benefactor of Roethlisberger's quick release time. He got a lot of opportunities for YAC (yards after catch). Last season, the Steelers run game was much better and that allowed the team to focus more heavily on the run and less on getting the ball into the hands of playmakers.

While the drop in production last season may not be Johnson's fault, he's still under pressure to perform in 2023. If Johnson can get back to his 2021 form, the Steelers will have a dangerous top two receivers with him and George Pickens. If Johnson cannot regain that form, the Steelers may be looking for other options at WR2 next offseason.