With the New Year finally here, the Steelers have had a season to forget. Despite seemingly making a jump in the offseason, the team has fallen apart. Now, this team is set for another year of mediocrity as they head into the offseason. While things are gloomy, there are some players I have circled to watch in 2024.
This is for a wide variety of reasons. Some are players I think could break out and become stars on this team. Others are disappointing right now and need to right the ship. My only exclusion is the current drafted rookie class for the team. Those are players everyone will be keying in on as we hope to see a jump in their second seasons on the team.
With all of that said, here are the five Steelers we should be closely watching in 2024.
The Steelers could move forward with Jaylen Warren
The running back room hasn’t been as advertised this season. The hope was for a ground-and-pound tactic that would allow for long drives and an efficient passing game when needed. The main dog would be Najee Harris, the former first-round pick, while Jaylen Warren would spell him and provide a change of pace option.
While the run game as a whole has gotten better, this unit hasn’t lived up to the expectations that were laid out for the team in the offseason. The offensive line has been hot and cold as blockers, and defenses can key in on the running game due to the struggles the Steelers have had through the air.
Warren has shined though, and he better fits the offense right now. That isn’t to say Harris isn’t doing good, he has been fine, but Warren can break a big play whenever he touches the ball. That explosion is necessary for a stagnant offense.
It is hard to imagine Harris having his fifth-year option picked up next year. That means both he and Warren will be entering contract seasons. Assuming both are around next year, I would love to see Warren jump Harris for early work. This is a pair that works well as a tandem, but I will be closely watching to see if Warren can make the next jump and potentially earn a second contract with the team.