Share & Comment:

ESPN gives the Steelers an interesting superlative heading into 2024

As all 32 NFL teams start to prepare for the 2024 regular season, every team has question marks on their roster heading into the new year. That’s right, there isn’t one team who doesn’t have any questions heading into 2024. Even the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs have issues at this juncture.

Bill Barnwell, a senior writer at ESPN, took the task of giving all 32 teams superlatives before training camps kick off in July. He broke it down by conference, and when he hit the AFC it was important to take a look at what he thought of the Pittsburgh Steelers as the team is in the midst of the second week of Organized Team Activities (OTAs).

With that being said, let’s get to Barnwell’s superlative:

The superlative: Team most likely to have multiple real training camp competitions on offense

I don’t think the Steelers are going to be great on offense in 2024, but they’re certainly going to be interesting from the first day of training camp onward. New offensive coordinator Arthur Smith had his foibles as Falcons coach, but his structure and scheme can be fun to watch if you’re not looking at it from the perspective of fantasy football.

Smith’s propensity for using his entire roster and the nature of what Pittsburgh did this offseason leave some interesting battles to be fought during preseason. There’s going to be a lot up for grabs:

  • Who will start at quarterback? Russell Wilson heads into camp as the favorite, but Smith’s offenses have worked best when he has had a mobile quarterback such as Ryan Tannehill and Marcus Mariota to help create numbers advantages in the run game. That would point more toward Justin Fields being the better option.
  • Will Najee Harris be the RB1? The 2021 first-round pick had his fifth-year option declined this offseason, and while he has surpassed 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons, undrafted backup Jaylen Warren has been more efficient and explosive when inserted into the lineup. Warren carved out something close to a 50-50 split at times last season. Harris looked better at the end of the season when the Steelers ran more gap concepts after firing coordinator Matt Canada, but Smith’s offense typically has been more zone-based. Cordarrelle Patterson is also on the roster and should figure into the rotation.
  • Will Roman Wilson start in two-wideout sets? The Steelers have a well-known track record when it comes to finding useful receivers in the middle rounds of the draft, and after moving on from Diontae Johnson and Allen Robinson this offseason, there’s an opening in the starting lineup. Wilson, a rookie third-round pick, might profile best in the slot, but the competition for him to play regularly is against Van Jefferson and Quez Watkins.
  • Will Troy Fautanu be the opening-day starter at left tackle? Smith has been blessed with veteran left tackles during his playcalling career, as the Titans had Taylor Lewan (when healthy) and the Falcons ran out Jake Matthews. Now, he might have a rookie starting Week 1 on the blind side in Fautanu, whom some teams saw as a guard at the pro level. Dan Moore has been a below-average left tackle during his career, so the competition isn’t overwhelming, but would Smith and the Steelers be ready to start Fautanu in Week 1? We’ll find out in a few months.

How do you see the Pittsburgh Steelers offseason playing out? Who will win these particular training camp battles? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and be sure to stay tuned to SCN as the team prepares for the 2024 regular season.


Sign up below for the latest news, stories and podcasts from our affiliates

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.