Steelers recent Day 2 draft pick is already on the hot seat

Former draft status isn't going to matter if you can't find a way to contribute.

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers
Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The Pittsburgh Steelers' 2023 draft class has a chance to be one of the best we have seen from this organization in years. In Omar Khan's first draft as general manager, Pittsburgh found valuable players at important positions on all three days of the draft. Even those who struggled during their rookie season, like Darnell Washington, still show the promise to be a pivotal piece of this team in the future.

Too bad the same can't be said for their 2022 class. We all know the struggles that Kenny Pickett has experienced in his first two seasons. Despite his winning record, the overall sample of play has been extremely underwhelming and the offensive ceiling has been capped with the former first-round quarterback at the helm.

Likewise, 2022 fourth-round pick Calvin Austin III has struggled to get involved in the offense in Year 2 after his rookie season was claimed by a foot injury before it started. However, there's another recent high draft choice who is already firmly in the hot seat and could be on his way out.

Steelers can't figure out what to do with DeMarvin Leal

When the Pittsburgh Steelers selected DeMarvin Leal with the 84th overall pick in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft, I was pleasantly optimistic. Leal was coming off a productive junior season at Texas A&M in which he recorded 58 tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss, and 8.5 sacks.

As a five-star recruit and the former No. 1 defensive tackle prospect in the nation, per 247 Sports, Leal was at one point thought to be a future top-10 pick in the draft. However, his college career wasn't as impressive as anticipated.

Still, this seemed like the perfect type of player to gamble on in the third round. Admittedly, I couldn't see exactly how the oversized edge defender was going to be used in Pittsburgh, but I was perfectly fine with the team taking a chance on his talent.

As a rookie, Leal flashed before landing on IR and missing significant time with a knee injury. Then, in Year 2, those flashes seemed to disappear altogether. The excitement of Leal was quickly overshadowed by a much more impressive Keeanu Benton. By the end of the season, Leal was a healthy scratch for the Steelers.

Entering his third NFL season the former third-round pick only earned a helmet once in his final six games (including the Wild Card game against the Bills) and we have a right to wonder what the team will do with him.

Steelers could look to trade DeMarvin Leal in 2024

After failing to find any sort of stable role with the team in his first two NFL seasons, the Pittsburgh Steelers could elect to trade DeMarvin Leal. Of course, there would have to be a suitor out there willing to take a player who made practically zero impact in his second NFL season.

Leal's former draft status as a third-round pick combined with decent athletic traits and two years remaining on his rookie deal could make this just sweet enough for a team to throw a late-round pick at him for the chance that he could work out with his new team.

If the Steelers can't trade Leal, the young defensive lineman will be on their roster this summer, but he's not guaranteed to be one of the final 53 players that will make the team in September.

Leal is in desperate need of a monumental third-year leap if he wants to carve out a role with the Steelers in 2024. Unfortunately, hope is dwindling, and it's safe to say that DeMarvin Leal is firmly on the hot seat early in the offseason.