LATROBE, Pa. – Coach Mike Tomlin is nothing if not a follower of NFL rules, and so when the league requires him to submit a depth chart, he submits a depth chart. And based on his history, consumers of this information and / or those whose names are somewhere on it are advised to view it as something between meaningless and what Moses brought down from the mountain etched on stone tablets.
And so, without further ado, the Steelers’ 2022 depth chart, which should surprise absolutely no one who has been paying attention this offseason nor anyone who has learned how Tomlin operates during this time of the year.
Naturally, the line of utmost importance to those taking the time to peruse this is the one listing the quarterbacks. As it has been since the first snap of the first OTA back in May, the quarterbacks are aligned as follows: Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph, Kenny Pickett, and Chris Oladokun.
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So it goes with the rest of the positions on offense as well. The starting offensive line is listed, from left to right, Dan Moore Jr., Kevin Dotson or Kendrick Green, Mason Cole, James Daniels, and Chuks Okorafor. The starting wide receivers are Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson; at tight end it’s Pat Freiermuth; the running back is Najee Harris, and the fullback is Derek Watt.
As we saw in the listing of the quarterbacks, the backups at each position typically are arranged based on years of service, either in the NFL or with the Steelers, or sometimes based on draft status.
As an example, Benny Snell (going into his fourth season) is No. 2 behind Harris, with Anthony McFarland Jr. (going into his third season) listed at No. 3. This is why, as an example, the backups listed behind Johnson at wide receiver are Anthony Miller (fifth year player), then Gunner Olszewski (fourth-year player), then Calvin Austin III (a rookie but a draft pick), and then Tyler Snead (a rookie but not a draft pick).
One slight exception could be found in the backup receivers behind Claypool, because Cody White (second-year player) is listed as No. 2 with Miller (fifth-year player) listed at No. 3, but since Miller already was listed as the primary backup to Johnson it makes sense that someone else would be listed as the primary backup to Claypool.
On defense, the starting linemen are Cam Heyward at defensive tackle, Tyson Alualu at nose tackle, and Larry Ogunjobi at defensive end. At linebacker it’s Devin Bush or Robert Spillane at left inside linebacker and Myles Jack at right inside linebacker as the starters; TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith are the starters at outside linebacker. Cam Sutton is the starting right cornerback, with Levi Wallace or Ahkello Witherspoon at left cornerback; the safeties are Terrell Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick; and the nickel is Arthur Maulet.
If you go looking for anomalies in the way the backups on defense are arranged, Tre Norwood (second-year player) is listed No. 2 at free safety with Miles Killebrew (seventh-year player) listed No. 3 there; and James Pierre (third-year player) is ahead of Justin Layne (fourth-year player) as the backup to Sutton at right cornerback.
Chris Boswell, Pressley Harvin, and Christian Kuntz are the No. 1 placekicker, punter, and long-snapper, respectively; and Olszewski is the primary kickoff and punt returner, with Austin as the primary backup at both spots.
As Tomlin once said, “People want to establish depth charts at this time of year, so be it. They change.”