Steel Curtain Network: A Pittsburgh Steelers podcast

Will the Steelers 2024 rookie class have the biggest impact in the NFL?

When the Pittsburgh Steelers completed their 2024 NFL Draft, it was immediately greeted with passing grades and applause. And not just from the fan base, but also media pundits both locally and nationally. In other words, everyone loved the Steelers draft from top-to-bottom.

But it also begs the question of if the Steelers draft class, seven total picks, would have the biggest impact in 2024? At ESPN they asked their full panel of NFL Draft experts this very question, and two of them selected the Steelers for their pick as the biggest impact in 2024.

Here are their explanations:

Matt Bowen: Steelers.

“The Steelers drafted two tone-setting starters on the offensive line with left tackle Troy Fautanu and center Zach Frazier in the first and second rounds, respectively, while fourth-round guard Mason McCormick adds depth up front. Wide receiver Roman Wilson brings toughness and big-play juice from the slot, plus linebacker Payton Wilson has three-down traits.”

Jordan Reid: Steelers.

“Their first four picks all have pathways to seeing significant snaps early on. Fautanu and Frazier are much-needed plug-and-play starters along the offensive line. Roman Wilson and Payton Wilson are also two prospects who could be key contributors at some point, as both have pro-ready games immediately.”

Many fans will read the above descriptions and continue to ooze excitement for the upcoming season, but the fact the Steelers are even in this discussion for having a draft class who could have the biggest impact in 2024 begs another question.

Are the Steelers too reliant on rookies in 2024?

From an organizational standpoint, the Steelers have typically liked to ease their rookies into action. Look at 2023 as a prime example. The team’s top three draft picks, Broderick Jones, Joey Porter Jr. and Keeanu Benton, were not thrust into the starting lineup right out of the gate. Instead, they were all slowly introduced to life in the fast lane which is the NFL. Some fans bemoan this approach, yet when you hear the players talk about how much they appreciate the team looking out for them, it makes you rethink your position.

In 2023 the team didn’t need those players to step in and be starters right away, but for several players in the 2024 draft class that might not be the case.

Zach Frazier certainly comes to mind as a player who is expected to come in and be the starter from Day 1. It’s just the fact the team doesn’t have a pure center on their roster. But Frazier isn’t alone. Roman Wilson at wide receiver could also be asked to play early, and some might even suggest Troy Fautanu could find himself in that same boat too.

The reason these rookies are a possibility for these starting roles isn’t necessarily because the rookies are immediately worthy, but that the gaping holes were too great for the team and they had no other choice. The only difference between the center position in 2024 and 2021 is Kendrick Green was a 3rd Round pick who played a handful of snaps at center during college. Frazier has been a starter for the vast majority of his time at West Virginia University.

Don’t get it twisted, the Steelers 2024 draft class is worthy of praise, but does make you wonder if the reason they are expected to have a big impact is based on the fact there are big-time holes on the roster.

This is something I spoke about more on the Monday episode of the “Let’s Ride” podcast. You can hear that in the player below, and be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers this offseason.

Share & Comment:


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

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