5 Steelers we can safely call busts after the 2023 season

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
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Steelers bust #2: DeMarvin Leal

There was a lot of intrigue with DeMarvin Leal coming out of school. While not the perfect fit in the Steelers scheme as an end, he was an extremely productive player in college. For a defensive line that featured an aging Cameron Heyward and not much else, there was hope that Leal would be able to develop into a starter down the road given his third-round billing.

His rookie season was a mixed bag. Injuries left him on IR for a stretch, but when he was healthy, he wore a lot of hats. He played traditionally along the line, saw snaps as an edge rusher, and even lined up as a hybrid off-ball linebacker for a few plays. While the Steelers wanted him to settle in at defensive line this past year, that versatility was a welcome sight.

He started this year off strong, serving as a core rotational defensive lineman for this defense. As the season went on though, Pittsburgh clearly wasn’t thrilled with his play. His role regressed and he went from playing 30-45 percent of the defensive snaps to just a handful. By the end of the year, he had been jumped by Armon Watts and Isaiahh Loudermilk and was a weekly inactive.

While defensive linemen can take a few seasons to get their footing, it doesn’t look good for Leal. His roster spot is far from a lock this year, and he has a long way to go before he is back in the defensive rotation. He needs to get his act together and get out of the Steelers doghouse to avoid the bust label.