Steelers News: NFL rule changes, Mike Tomlin, Quez Walker, and Steelers draft party

  • Looking at the biggest NFL rule changes
  • Mike Tomlin says Russell Wilson has 'pole position'
  • Quez Walker added to Steelers roster
  • Steelers hosting NFL Draft party

Tennessee Titans v Pittsburgh Steelers
Tennessee Titans v Pittsburgh Steelers / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The Pittsburgh Steelers have had arguably a more eventful first two weeks of free agency than anything we have witnessed from this team in the past. During this time, they completely revamped their quarterback room (which included trading away Kenny Pickett and trading for Justin Fields) while signing a Pro Bowl linebacker to the biggest free agent contract this team has ever handed out.

It's no surprise to see that things are finally starting to calm down a bit. The biggest topic around the league this week involves the NFL owners' meeting. Here's the latest Steelers news.

The NFL owners' meetings took

Every year, NFL owners, coaches, and executives meet for the annual NFL owners' meeting in Orlando. Hundreds of NFL staff, along with representatives from each team, propose new rules for the betterment of the game.

This year, there will be lots of changes. The most controversial is that the NFL is banning the "hip drop" tackle. This is a tackling style that has caused numerous injuries over the past few years, but this subjective ruling leaves room for lots of gray areas.

Other big changes include the NFL trade deadline being moved back a week in 2024 and the new kickoff rule adopted from the XFL. Here's the full list of approved playing rules from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

The new kickoff rule will have players from both teams lining up from each other just five yards apart when the ball is fielded. This will help avoid big collisions and encourage more kickoff returns. For a team like the Steelers who haven't returned a kick for a touchdown since 2017, this could prove to be beneficial.

Mike Tomlin says Wilson is in 'pole position' to be starting QB

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin spoke with the media during the NFL owners' meeting where he addressed a range of topics. The most notable was the quarterback position.

Tomlin spoke to the pecking order between Russell Wilson and Justin Fields. While he didn't officially close the door on a QB competition, Tomlin noted that Wilson has 'pole position' to be the starting quarterback in 2024.

This likely means that Fields will have to go above and beyond this summer to prove that he deserves a shot at unseating Wilson for the starting job. Tomlin's words reflected the initial report that the Steelers' head coach called Russell Wilson when the Justin Fields trade was processing to ensure Wilson that he would be the starter.

Quez Watkins adds speed to the Steelers WR room

The Pittsburgh Steelers recently signed their second free-agent receiver of 2024 by adding Quez Walker to their roster. This comes roughly a week after signing former Rams and Falcons receiver, Van Jefferson.

Walker, a former sixth-round pick by the Eagles, spent his first four seasons in Philadelphia where he recorded over 1,000 yards. He has experience both on the outside and in the slot, and he was primarily used as a slot option with the Eagles. Walker is known for his blazing speed as he ran an official 4.35 at the NFL Combine.

Walker is not guaranteed to make the final roster. His biggest competition could be Calvin Austin III as the two receivers share similar roles. With the departures of Diontae Johnson and Allen Robinson II, the Steelers needed to add more depth at WR before the NFL Draft.

Steelers hosting NFL Draft party

The Pittsburgh Steelers will be hosting an NFL Draft party at Acrisure Stadium. This party will take place on Day 3 of the draft on Saturday, April 27th.

Attendees will have the opportunity to explore the locker rooms, participate in on-field drills, meet Steelers legends, and of course, watch the final day of the draft (rounds 4-7). Standard tickets are $15 and kids 12 and under are $5 for this event.