Steel Curtain Network: A Pittsburgh Steelers podcast

3 positive overreactions from the Steelers this preseason

This week on the Steelers Fix podcast, Jeremy Betz and I discussed overreactions surrounding the Steelers. We each gave three overreactions from what we have seen so far, but for the topic of the show, three of the six overreactions had to be negative.

Today, we are going to take a closer look at several of these overreactions and break down the effects of such potential happenings. We will focus on the positive overreactions today and break down the negative later this week.

Overreaction #1: Kenny Pickett is already a Top 10 QB

This was the first overreaction from one Jeremy Betz. Yes, it is only the preseason, but Kenny Pickett has been decisive and smart with the football in both preseason games, displaying great patience in the pocket and getting through his reads at an efficient rate. My biggest concern with this take is that there has been no legitimate pass rush in the preseason. Pickett struggled when under pressure last season, and, while I place the blame entirely on the offensive line for that deficiency, it is still something we have yet to see Kenny overcome.

Do I think he will overcome it? Absolutely, but in a league with many high-end talents at the quarterback position, getting inside the top ten would take quite a leap from the second-year pro. Having said all that, he has the pieces needed to make that leap. If the offensive line can gel quickly, the weapons the Steelers have on the outside should be enough to scare any team. George Pickens looks like a budding star, and savvy vets Diontae Johnson and Allen Robinson II will certainly keep defenders on their toes. With a two-headed monster at both running back and tight end as well, the excuses are no more for the Steelers offense. While I do think the top ten is a major overreaction, I do not think it is impossible.

Overreaction #2: Joey Porter, Jr. can be a lockdown corner by season’s end

Porter’s first interception came on Saturday against the Bills, but his play has been phenomenal all summer long. People got onto him during the pre-draft process for a lack of splash plays created, but it was not as if he had many prime opportunities to pick passes off. Yes, he used his length on numerous occasions to swat passes away in coverage, but prime opportunities for interceptions rarely came his way. Quarterbacks typically tried to avoid throwing in his direction, and when they did, they were not super efficient.

Point blank, Joey Porter, Jr. is a baller. Regardless of how many interceptions he records, he has the length, the speed, the physicality, the instincts, and the “dawg” needed to play the position at a high level. I do believe we will see Porter create more turnovers in the pros than he did in college, but either way, it will not change the fact that the Steelers may have landed the best cornerback in the 2023 class in the second round. I believe he has a legitimate shot of being a lockdown guy by season’s end.

Overreaction #3: Nick Herbig isn’t just good depth. He will provide a spark off the edge.

When the Steelers brought in Markus Golden, the anticipation of Nick Herbig moving to inside linebacker grew. However, his play this preseason has been perhaps the most noticeable takeaway from the summer, and he continues to look more and more like a true NFL pass rusher. Jeremy’s second overreaction is that Nick Herbig is more than just a depth piece, but rather someone who can provide a legitimate spark off the edge.

This does not take away from the impact Markus Golden will still make, but it is quite difficult to ignore the success Herbig is having. I still believe he needs to add more weight before being a consistent presence on the edge, but his upside as a pass rusher is much better than the evaluation I gave him during the pre-draft process. If he can bulk up and have the same success against bigger, stronger starting offensive linemen, the Steelers may have a three-headed monster on the edge.

What has been your biggest overreaction from the preseason so far? Be sure to light up the comment section below with your thoughts on this and all things Pittsburgh Steelers!

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