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Steelers Players With The Most To Prove In 2024

The Steelers seem to have their best team in the last handful of years, but like every team in the NFL, they have holes that will require the next-man-up mentality to be patched as we approach training camp and the start of the 2024 NFL season. 

While the Steelers have done a pretty good job of patching up the roster heading into the new campaign, in the NFL you can rarely have every single position under complete wraps. The Steelers have a few holes, but they also have some guys who could step up to the plate and make a big difference for this football team. 

Calvin Austin 

Although he’s technically entering year three, Calvin Austin is really just entering year two after the foot injury took his whole rookie season from him. We saw a couple of flashes from Austin last season, but nothing materialized regarding him being a consistent option for the Steelers' offense. 

Austin only had one receiving touchdown on the season, and it might’ve been the best throw of Kenny Pickett’s short-lived Steelers tenure. A 72-yarder that uncorked the Raiders defense in week three, Matt Canada decided to put that one away for the rest of the season. 

He finished his first full season in the NFL with 17 receptions for 180 yards and one receiving touchdown, averaging 10.6 yards per reception and just 1 reception a game. Austin also ran the ball 11 times, scoring one rushing touchdown and adding one more in the playoff game against Buffalo. 

Austin has been building a relationship with Russell Wilson, going out west to work out with him over the offseason and picking his brain any chance he gets. Multiple reports have said that Austin looks good at OTAs as well. If he can mold himself into a formidable WR2, the Steelers' offense might be cooking. 

Donte Jackson

Entering his first season as a Steeler, a lot will be expected from Donte Jackson. He should be up to the challenge though, as Pittsburgh needs him to be a serviceable CB2 next to an emerging star in Joey Porter Jr. They believe he is up to the task in the Steel City, adding almost no other pieces to that room besides the return of Cameron Sutton and retuning guys like Cory Trice and Darius Rush

Jackson is a six-year NFL veteran and knows his way around the field. The 28-year-old appeared in 16 games last season, defending five passes and forcing a fumble to go with his 49 solo tackles and five tackles for loss. In the 2018 season, Jackson posted four interceptions. If the Steelers can get that out of him, they’ll look nice on the defensive back end. 

Cameron Heyward

While he was injured for most of the season, Cam Heyward didn’t have the season he wanted last year. He battled a groin injury all year that hampered him down the stretch, but at the ripe age of 35 years old, how much does Killa Cam have left in the tank?

He wants a new contract to finish his career as a Steeler, but you can’t blame the Steelers for being hesitant to back up the Brinks truck for a 35-year-old coming off one of the worst seasons of his career. This year will be a big chance for Heyward to rejuvenate his career and earn that deal from the Steelers. We all know that wasn’t a 100% Heyward out there last year, but we want to be sure it still runs smoothly. 

Heyward has cemented himself as a Steeler great over his 13-year career in the Steel City but is still chasing that elusive Super Bowl ring that could put him among some football greats. If Heyward can get back to form this year, the Steelers defense has a chance to do some special things. It looks like their best defense on paper since the 2010 team that we all know and love. 

Steelers Looking To Compete Now

With all the roster moves made this offseason, the addition of veteran guys like Russell Wilson and Patrick Queen, the Steelers are clearly in win-now mode, which isn’t easy to do in the current AFC. If they can get these guys to step up and make a difference on their side of the ball, the Steelers could jump out and shock people this season in a stacked AFC North, and a tough AFC. 


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