Steelers final report card: Grading each positional group for the 2023 season

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Edge defenders: A+

Of all the positions on the Steelers roster during the 2023 season, edge defender was without a doubt the strongest from top to bottom. Once again, T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith proved to be one of the most menacing pass rush duos in the league. Both players graded out among the top 10 players at their position while Watt led the NFL in sacks for the third time (earning 19.0 in 2023).

At worst, you could argue that Watt is the sixth-best player at the position, but you won't hear many football analysts making the case that he's that low. Highsmith, despite a down year production-wise, was strong all around and was more consistent than he was in 2022.

Even the backups were strong for the Steelers this year. Though Watt and Highsmith understandably hogged a majority of the snaps, Markus Golden and Nick Herbig were a strong pairing off the bench when they were asked to come into the game to give the starters a rest.

Herbig made several splash plays despite limited action, while Golden was Mr. Consistent. Both proved to be excellent additions to the roster during the 2023 offseason. The collection of these four edge defenders is as good as just about any group you will find in the league. They earn my only A+ grade among Steelers positional groups for their performance during the 2023 season.