Steelers positional battles that could come down to the wire in 2024

Pittsburgh has plenty of positional battles to track throughout the summer, but these five are the most intriguing.
Joey Porter Jr., Darius Rush, Steelers
Joey Porter Jr., Darius Rush, Steelers / Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Every year at this time, football fans start diving into the new-look roster of their favorite teams before training camp. The Pittsburgh Steelers had an unexpected amount of roster turnover during the 2024 offseason, but fans and the media alike would agree that nearly every move was for the betterment of the team.

With this turnover comes added competition and intriguing positional battles. Pittsburgh is suddenly very deep at several important positions, and there will be jousting for positioning going on between competitive players all summer.

Some of these players will be competing for starting roles while others hope to become rotational players who lock up job security with the organization. Here are four Steelers positional battles that could come down to the wire in 2024.

Boundary cornerback

The cornerback position, in general, has been an area of concern for many Steelers fans. While Joey Porter Jr. looks very promising, some don't believe Omar Khan did enough to address the position this offseason. However, I'm intrigued by what Pittsburgh has going for them at the position.

Veteran Donte Jackson -- who was aquired in the Dionate Johnson trade -- is expected to start on the outside opposite Porter, but impressive competition at the position could emerge. Cory Trice Jr. and Darius Rush are making strides as they enter Year 2.

Sixth-round pick, Ryan Watts, could also throw his hat in the ring as a candidate to carve out a role in subpackages. All three of Trice, Rush, and Watts have an outstanding combination of size and athletic traits, and one could emerge as a potential option to pair with Porter for the future. This will be a fun position to watch this summer.

Wide receiver

We know that George Pickens is going to have the biggest role among all pass catchers on the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2024. This is no secret. What we don't know is who could be the primary option lined up next to him.

While it's possible that veteran Van Jefferson could get the early crack at this, the Steelers have some young talented players in Roman Wilson and Calvin Austin III who will be nipping at the heels of veterans for playing time. Both Wilson and Austin were recently praised by QB Russell Wilson.

You can also add free agent pick-ups Scotty Miller and Quez Watkins to the mix. It's unlikely that all of these players will make the team, but there will be a major competition for the second, third, fourth, and even the fifth wide receiver spots on the Steelers roster this year.

Slot cornerback

While the boundary cornerback position possesses more talent and upside, the ordeal at slot cornerback might be just as important for the 2024 season. In today's NFL, a slot cornerback is essentially a full-time role, and it's still a mystery as to which player will take on this job for the Steelers this year.

Right now, the biggest competition for the role seems to be a three-way battle between Josiah Scott, Anthony Averett, and undrafted rookie Beanie Bishop. None of these players are so much as guaranteed a roster spot in 2024, but one could find themselves in a significant role on a defense that hopes to be one of the best units in the NFL this year. We may not have an answer until the Steelers roster cuts.


Two years ago, the Steelers didn't have a single linebacker worth seeing the field in a starting role. Now it looks like they have four quality linebackers. This is a great problem, but sorting out the pecking order and roles of each one could be tricky.

Joining Elandon Roberts and Cole Holcomb (who is on track to return from a knee injury) is former Ravens Pro Bowler Patrick Queen and third-round pick Payton Wilson (who many viewed as the best linebacker in college football in 2023).

These players each have unique skill sets and offer something different to the team, but there will only be so many snaps to go around if all four are healthy and ready to go. Keep an eye on this position throughout the summer, as it could have big implications on the Steelers' 2024 season.