Where can the Steelers roster improve before the 2023 season?

Indianapolis Colts v Pittsburgh Steelers
Indianapolis Colts v Pittsburgh Steelers / George Gojkovich/GettyImages

Coming off a highly successful NFL Draft class of selections and a fruitful offseason of new additions, the Pittsburgh Steelers' future is looking significantly brighter than what it was just a year ago. To recap, we saw rookie General Manager Omar Khan (aka "Khan Artist') turn this roster into an immediate playoff contender in only a matter of months.

These are not your traditional Steelers anymore. What we witnessed was a perfect blend of a very aggressive, modern, and analytically driven philosophy. If winning in the NFL is of the utmost importance to a team's front office, then they will prove it by putting the money where their mouth is.

Just recently, Khan and company hauled in a group of prospects that have drawn rave reviews. Offensive Tackle in protecting rising star quarterback Kenny Pickett's blind spot was flawlessly addressed with 1st Rounder Broderick Jones. In the 2nd, we saw two future franchise starters brought in to further solidify an already good Steelers defense in cornerback Joey Porter Jr and defensive lineman Keanu Benton.

The third round was something else, and this may be where Omar Khan committed highway robbery as studded tight end Darnell Washington casually fell into their laps over rumored yet somewhat overblown concerns of a knee injury.

The middle to late rounds of the NFL Draft is where the work of scouts' film study either are proven right or backfiring horribly. The majority of people only care to follow the big rounds that bring in the most media attention, but the later rounds are what defines the art of scouting, and perhaps this is where Omar Khan sealed the bag on an all-around great draft class.

Linebacker depth was already thin with Myles Jack getting released, and that's why they drafted Nick Herbig out of Wisconsin in the 4th. He brings exactly what this franchise looks for in good linebacking.

Skipping all the way to Round 7 (No picks in Rounds 5-6), another potentially overlooked duo of steals arose from the dust. Purdue Cornerback Corey Trice Jr and Offensive Guard Spencer Anderson of Maryland closed the door on an impressive list of players many Steelers fans are sure to be happy with.

Before the first overall pick was ever announced in Kansas City, substantial roster turnover was completed with an eye on doing more than achieving the generic ".500% regular season". Winning the battles in the trenches was a priority from start to finish for Khan and Andy Wiedl (Assistant GM).

From signing longtime All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson, versatile offensive linemen Nate Herbig, and Isaac Seumalo, fortifying the linebacking unit through Elandon Roberts, and Cole Holcomb, upgrading the defensive line in Breiden Fehoko, adding valuable safety depth in Keanu Neal, or simply re-signing players of their own in Larry Ogunjobi, Zach Gentry, and Damontae Kazee, every notable move checked off a much-needed box that hadn't necessarily been improved dating back to Kevin Colbert's last year under power.

Putting all that is a grade-A-worthy performance thus far aside, much work remains to be done as there are still several areas of improvement that could prove to be pivotal down the stretch. Although the defensive side of the ball has come a long way, it is far from being in a place where it can be considered one of the best.

Cornerback and Safety depth isn't a sure thing. Behind Minkah Fitzpatrick and Joey Porter Jr lie unproven backups who, when counted on, should be able to step in and play well when needed. If you're drawing near the final stretch of the season, can this unit truly be counted on if a playoff appearance is on the horizon? After all, it wouldn't hurt Omar Khan to add more depth to what will be a bloodthirsty AFC North Division.

Linebacker and Defensive Line depth was most certainly improved, but the same case also applies here. If injuries start piling up, can we be confident enough in the depth behind Keanu Benton, Elandon Roberts, and Cole Holcolmb? Mark Robinson, while talented, is still far from a proven commodity.

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Overall, there's a lot to like about the 2023 depth chart and roster, courtesy of Omar Khan. Nonetheless, there's still work to be done, and shoring up the defense, even more, could separate them from the AFC competition. With over $15 million currently in Salary Cap space, hopefully, what's left in the checkbook can make further make a difference by the time Week 1 rolls around.