The Pittsburgh Steelers offense features a very attention-grabbing group of weapons. Though they do not make use of any true offensive superstars, the crew ought to get at the very least a manufacturing base from WRs Diontae Johnson and George Pickens, RB Najee Harris and TE Pat Freiermuth. Heck, even WR Allen Robinson II must be good for at the very least a number of hundred yards and about 30-40 receptions, though he is a bit previous his prime.
However to take the Steelers offense from common to robust, they want an X-Issue. Somebody to transcend the same old guys and make an impression.
Who may or not it’s in 2023? Whereas guys like TE Darnell Washington and even Robinson himself could be on this dialog, it boils down to 2 important guys for me in RB Jaylen Warren and WR Calvin Austin III. Let’s check out every of them.
RB Jaylen Warren
The case for:
I’ve written about this earlier than, however Najee Harris had a traditionally excessive workload in his first two NFL seasons. Coincidentally, the Steelers do not actually have a strong third operating again on the roster proper now.
Enter Jaylen Warren. Though he was undrafted within the 2022 NFL Draft, he rapidly established himself as Pittsburgh’s undisputed quantity two backfielder. Because the season progressed and Kenny Pickett started to develop and progress, Warren grew to become increasingly more concerned within the offense. Pickett may positively use security protection in 12 months 2, and there may very well be loads of checks to Warren within the playing cards this season.
With Warren probably serving because the crew’s third again, the snaps may very well be there for him to make an actual impression.
The case in opposition to:
I figured Jaylen Warren had an enormous yr within the offseason, however the hyped practice could be leaving the station a bit prematurely.
He was good final yr, however his stats weren’t loopy. He did not get 600 complete scrimmage yards and was held below two receptions per sport final yr.
Warren may fairly get extra touches this season. Nonetheless, the meta round NFL operating backs appears to be shaping as much as get probably the most out of them when you nonetheless have them on a budget. Due to this fact, I may see Harris’ workload persevering with to remain excessive over the following two seasons, forcing Warren into a real quantity two function as a substitute of a 1B function with an opportunity to make a serious impression.
Calvin Austin III
The case for:
The case of Calvin Austin is kind of easy. Velocity. He ran a 4.32 on the mix final yr, propelling him to be taken within the fourth spherical by the Steelers.
One other factor for Austin is versatility. If he seems good in camp, the Steelers will discover a approach to get him on the courtroom this season. He can return punts, you’ll be able to put him away and even carry out a throw sweep motion with him. He is electrical with the ball in his palms, all he wants is a chance.
With a scarcity of explosive performs on Pittsburgh’s offense not too long ago, Austin may very well be the man to convey the splash and assist flip the sector round and get the higher hand on protection.
The case in opposition to:
Jaylen Warren did not have loopy numbers final yr, however at the very least he had numbers. Austin has missed the whole season with a foot harm, and we’ve not actually seen him showcase his spectacular pace in opposition to NFL defenses.
Austin is barely 5-9, and it’s extremely potential his physique simply is not prepared to face up to the damage and tear of an NFL season. We simply have not seen him in any type of NFL sport motion, so it is onerous to essentially say what he would possibly convey.
The distinction between Austin and a man like Dri Archer is that Austin is a pure receiver and he is used to taking part in the place. However everyone seems to be taller within the NFL, and if Austin cannot deal with the dimensions he’ll be up in opposition to, he would possibly wrestle.
On this case, Austin can be utilized extra as a decoy than a risk. However I assume the concept he can take the lead in protection at any time is a plus in itself and may very well be thought of an X-factor in its personal proper.