The Steelers will have some tough decisions along the defensive line

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team that had several holes to fill this offseason. Under Kevin Colbert’s guidance the team navigated the offseason with expert precision. Signings like Mitch Trubisky, James Daniels, Mason Cole and Levi Wallace gave the team a flexibility, and experience, they didn’t have after the 2021 regular season.

The moves didn’t end there when Omar Khan took over for Colbert as the team’s General Manager (GM). Khan signed Minkah Fitzpatrick to a new 5-year contract, and most recently signed defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi to a one-year contract.

What did the Steelers get in Ogunjobi? For a better look at the X’s and O’s of Ogunjobi’s game, check out the film room article by BTSC’s Kevin Smith below:

Outside of what Ogunjobi brings to the team on the field, he also delivers a crippling blow to some players who were vying for the final roster spot along the defensive line. The Steelers ’defensive line room has been packed with players, but lacking quality starting depth with the retirement of Stephon Tuitt. Sure, Chris Wormley filled in admirably last season, but he is a far cry from what the team needs in terms of rotational depth at the position.

This is where Ogunjobi’s impact will be felt the most. With Ogunjobi being able to rotate into the defensive line, it will save players like Tyson Alualu and Cam Heyward from having to play the majority of the snaps. Instead, the line can remain fresh without seeing a drastic drop in talent on the field.

But who will make the team, and who will be on the outside looking in when roster cuts are announced at the end of the preseason? With Ogunjobi on the team, the first question everyone has to answer is how many defensive linemen the team will keep on the 53-man roster.

For the sake of this exercise, let’s assume the Steelers are going to keep seven defensive linemen in 2022. Let’s take a look at who are locks to make the team, and those who will be left out.

Locks

Cam Heyward – No explanation necessary for the defensive captain.

Tyson Alualu – The aging defensive lineman still provides value.

DeMarvin Leal – You don’t cut a 3rd round draft pick.

Isaiahh Loudermilk – The Steelers traded up to get him in the 2021 NFL Draft, and he provided some great run-stopping value last year. The hope is for a big jump in 2022.

Montravius ​​Adams – Just signed to a two-year contract, it is highly unlikely the team parts ways with Adams.

Larry Ogunjobi – Unless he isn’t healthy, which the team wouldn’t have signed him, Ogujobi will have a role on the team this year.

Chris Wormley – With one year remaining on his contract, Wormley looks to remain a valuable asset on the defense. However, if there was a player who could be moved, I have a feeling it could be Wormley.

Do the simple math above. There are seven defensive linemen right there, and a pretty solid group of linemen who could all rotate into the lineup depending on the situation. Plain and simple, the Steelers went from a cupboard which was bare last season, relying on players like Loudermilk as a rookie and Isaiah Buggs, to now having to make some tough decisions on players.


Left Out

Carlos Davis – Davis showed some promise as a rookie, but an injury-plagued 2021 has him on the outside looking in. Unless a trade or injury occurs, Davis might be on the way out or hoping for a practice squad designation.

Khalil Davis – Carlos’ brother has yet to play for the Steelers, but finds himself on the short list of those who don’t have much of a shot outside of the practice squad.

Henry Mondeaux – Mondeaux is a guy who seems to always stick around. I see it happening again in 2022, but I think it happens on the practice squad for the second year in a row.

Daniel Archibong – Best chance is to be on the practice squad.

Donovan Jeter – Best chance is to be on the practice squad.


The Steelers have a good problem when it comes to the defensive line. Better to have too many than not enough, but it doesn’t make the decision making process any easier. As I stated earlier in the article, injuries happen and if so someone like Carlos Davis will likely be the next man up. However, if the team decides to stay put they’ll absolutely have some tough decisions to make in the process.

What do you think? Who stays and goes? If there was to be a surprise cut / trade, who would it be? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the team as they prepare for training camp at Saint Vincent College for the first time since 2019.

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