With the 2022 new league year, the questions will be plenty for quite a while, even as the Pittsburgh Steelers spend cash and cap space and use draft picks in an effort to find answers. We don’t know who the quarterback is going to be yet—even if we have a good idea. How will the offensive line be formulated? How will the secondary develop amid changes, including to the coaching staff? What does Teryl Austin bring to the table—and Brian Flores? What will Matt Canada’s offense look like absent Ben Roethlisberger?
These sorts of uncertainties are what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
Topic Statement: Tackle is the greatest depth concern on the roster.
Explanation: While the Steelers’ starting offensive tackles are nothing to write home about, the backups that they have waiting in the wings are not exactly of the variety that inspires confidence. But is this the weakest position group on the roster in terms of the available depth behind the starters?
Joe Haeg is the Steelers’ swing tackle. He is the guy standing in the way of the Steelers’ quarterback, whoever that might be, in the event that either Dan Moore Jr. or Chukwuma Okorafor were to go down this year. He was supposed to be a healthy scratch last year, if not for Zach Banner’s injury opening that window.
And behind Haeg, you have Chaz Green and Trent Scott. These are two journeymen—three actually, including Haeg—who are clearly not going to be fighting for a starting job anywhere anytime soon. Scott has merely followed Pat Meyer around, and essentially acknowledged that his position coach is the reason the team was even interested in him.
The Steelers’ outside linebacker depth this year is worse than it was last year, and we saw how bad the edge rushing was last year when the starters were injured. Genard Avery is no Melvin Ingram, that’s for sure, and it’s hard to believe we’re really banking on Derrek Tuszka to keep progressing.
Then there’s the running back position. Who is even there? The best running back behind Najee Harris is not even good at the task of what the Steelers would ask him to do, which is to spell the starter. That’s not Benny Snell’s strength. He gets better the more touches he gets. If he is just coming in getting a handful of touches per game, he’s not going to perform well.
At least Haeg didn’t embarrass himself last season when he started two games at tackle, one of the right side and one on the left. He’s really not all that bad. He might even be a better pass protector than some of the team’s starting linemen.