Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Steelers 2022 NFL offseason tracker: Pittsburgh selects QB Kenny Pickett with 20th pick

Like many teams in the AFC, the Pittsburgh Steelers have had a busy offseason that includes the additions of several players who hope to make an impact in 2022. Pittsburgh made headlines during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, as they selected former Pitt quarterback with the 20th overall pick. 

Pittsburgh’s 2022 offseason has also included the roster additions of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, cornerback Levi Wallace, linebacker Myles Jack, offensive linemen Mason Cole and James Daniels, and former All-Pro special teams ace Gunner Olszewski. Pittsburgh made headlines this week by claiming former Ravens receiver Miles Boykin off waivers a day after he was released by Baltimore. The Steelers have also reportedly come to terms with strong safety Terrell Edmunds. Edmunds, the team’s first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, had been on the open market since the start of free agency. 

Through free agency, Pittsburgh has added to a roster that already includes Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt, fellow 2021 All-Pro Cameron Heyward, two-time All-Pro Minkah Fitzpatrick, Pro Bowl receiver Diontae Johnson, former Pro Bowl kicker Chris Boswell, running back Najee Harris, and tight end Pat Freiermuth, among others. These players each played an integral role in the Steelers making the playoffs in 2021 while also extending Tomlin’s record of 15 consecutive non-losing seasons to begin his coaching career. 

Pittsburgh recently announced the addition of David Corley to the offensive coaching staff. Corley, who enjoyed considerable success as William & Mary’s quarterback from 1999-02, will serve as an assistant quarterbacks coach for the 2022 season. Corley is familiar with the Steelers, having worked with the team’s quarterbacks in 2010 as part of the Bill Walsh Minority Coach Fellowship. That season, the Steelers started 3-1 with backup quarterback Charlie Batch under center. Pittsburgh ultimately won the AFC before falling to the Packers in Super Bowl XLV. 

Corley will work alongside Mike Sullivan, who is entering his second season as the Steelers’ quarterbacks coach. He will also work with offensive coordinator Matt Canada, who is beginning his second year in that position after spending the 2020 season as Pittsburgh’s quarterbacks coach. 

This if your one-stop guide to everything Steelers offseason related. Throughout the next several months, we’ll provide up-to-date news, updates and analysis of any notable news regarding the black and gold. Below, we’ve identified the positions the Steelers most have to address this offseason. Also included below are key offseason dates as well as Pittsburgh’s in-house free agents. 

Dwayne Haskins (1997-2022)

The Pittsburgh Steelers‘ offseason took a tragic turn on Saturday, April 9, with the news that quarterback Dwayne Haskins died after being struck by a vehicle on a Florida interstate. Haskins, who recently signed his tender to return to Pittsburgh for the upcoming season, was on his way back to Pittsburgh after working out with several teammates prior to his tragic accident. He was just 24 years old. 

Haskins’ impact on the Steelers — and the football world in general — was immediately felt in the wave of responses following his sudden death. Seemingly every post/statement regarding Haskins touched on his infectious smile and positive attitude. Haskins was also hailed as a great teammate who put others before himself. 

“I am devastated and at a loss for words with the unfortunate passing of Dwayne Haskins,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said in a statement. “He quickly became part of our Steelers family upon his arrival in Pittsburgh and was one of our hardest workers, both on the field and in our community. Dwayne was a great teammate, but even more so a tremendous friend to so many. I am truly heartbroken.” 

“The world lost a great person today,” Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt wrote on Twitter. “When Dwayne first walked into the locker room I could tell he was an upbeat guy. He was always making people smile, never taking life for granted. His impact on me will last forever.” 

Former Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger lauded, among other things, Haskins’ immense talent when it came to throwing a football. While he was so much more than a football player, Haskins was a supremely gifted quarterback who in 2018 realized his childhood dream of being the starting quarterback at Ohio State. Haskins broke a bevy of school and Big Ten passing records that season while helping the Buckeyes win the Rose Bowl. 

“I’ll say it again just like I told you to your face, I still wish I could throw the ball like you!!” Roethlisberger posted on his Twitter account. “Love ya pal. 7.” 

With Haskins undoubtedly in their hearts, the Steelers’ brass will forge ahead in preparation for the season. 

Team needs

  • OL, DL, WR, SS 

The Steelers have largely addressed their needs at quarterback, offensive line, cornerback and inside linebacker during the initial days of free agency. That leaves defensive line, receiver and strong safety as the three main positions that still need addressed. Pittsburgh will likely use the draft to strengthen their depth on the offensive line (specifically at offensive tackle), defensive line and receiver. While the draft is an option, expect the Steelers to fill their vacancy at strong safety with a veteran. That could be Tyrann Mathieu, a three-time Pro Bowler who is currently available. 

Draft picks 

  • 20th overall (1st round): Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt 

  • 52nd overall (2nd round)

  • 84th overall (3rd round) 

  • 138th overall (4th round) 

  • 208th overall (6th round) 

  • 225th overall (7th round) 

  • 241st overall (7th round) 

Pittsburgh received a fourth-round compensatory pick for the 2022 NFL Draft. They lost their fifth-round pick as part of their trade with the Jets to acquire Avery Williamson in 2020, but gained their first seventh-round pick as a result of that trade. 

Key upcoming dates 

  • April 28-30: 2022 NFL Draft 
  • June 14-16: Mandatory minicamp 

Free agent signings 

Unrestricted in-house free agents 

Reports, rumors and updates 

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