Omar Khan has a vision; Can the Steelers make it a reality?

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Omar Khan
Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Omar Khan / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers have undergone a significant transformation over the past two seasons, and GM Omar Khan has made his vision for the franchise very clear. Gone is former first-round pick Kenny Pickett and the much-maligned offensive coordinator Matt Canada. Polarizing receiver Diontae Johnson is now a Carolina Panther. Former Falcons head coach Arthur Smith is now running the Steelers offense. Five draft picks and over $40 million have been invested into the offensive line.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what Khan's vision for this team is. He was a part of the organization when they returned to their Super Bowl level of play, and those teams were built on the backs of a strong running game and dominant defense. Ever since he took the reigns from long-time GM Kevin Colbert. he has wasted no time chasing that blueprint.

This is still the modern NFL, however, so will the Steelers be able to execute his plans; or will his attempt to revive the past fall short?

Steelers looking to run away from the competition

Steelers fans have suffered through years of offensive mediocrity after the high-flying offenses of the mid-2010s fell apart, but there may be light at the end of the tunnel.

New offensive coordinator Arthur Smith may have failed to perform as coach of the Atlanta Falcons, but his stint as the Tennessee Titans OC was very successful. The Titans finished top 10 in points scored in both of his seasons running the offense, as well as top three in rushing offense.

Omar Khan has provided Smith with an incredibly talented offensive line, including new additions Troy Fautanu and Zach Frazier with their first two draft picks this year. Add in athletic guard/center Mason McCormick, and the Steelers offensive line should be set for years to come.

The Steelers have tried to establish a strong running game for the last few years, but the overall success rate just hasn't been there. Now, the pieces are in place to change that.

All of that is great, but the question now is whether that direction is the correct one. The NFL is still a passing league at the end of the day, and the Steelers passing offense has a lot of questions to put it nicely.

One of Russell Wilson or Justin Fields could be the answer at QB, but it's more likely that neither is the guy. Drafting Michigan receiver Roman Wilson was a nice addition, but it's George Pickens against the world outside of him.

Steelers floor is set, but what about their ceiling?

I believe Khan is trying to do everything he can to make the Steelers' questionable QB situation less of a concern. That makes plenty of sense for a team that is always in win-now mode, but it's fair to wonder what the ceiling of this roster is.

It's hard to argue with building up the trenches the way he has, and it will ultimately help whoever the long-term QB is. Still, relying on your run game and defense may not be enough to get you into the playoffs, or at least not very far if you do make it.

Overall, I think the Steelers are equipped to finally be the hard-nosed, physical offense that Khan has been striving for this season. Arthur Smith should be able to get their run game going behind this rebuilt line, and hopefully one of their new QBs can at least do the easy stuff well.

If so, the Steelers could finally push beyond being a fringe playoff team in 2024. If not, it could be back to the drawing board on offense in 2025.