The Pittsburgh Steelers have a top-five position unit in 2022 according to Pro Football Focus.
PFF ranked the top defensive lines in the NFL in 2022 and they have the Steelers at No. 4.
Stephon Tuitt‘s retirement hurts this group’s outlook entering 2022 and likely puts Chris Wormley back into a similar role to the one he filled in 2021 (69.3 PFF grade on over 750 defensive snaps). However, Pittsburgh still has a top-three interior defensive lineman and top-three edge defender on the roster, as T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward both rank among the top-three players at their respective position in quarterback pressures over the last three seasons while also playing the run at a high level.
Alex Highsmith is an X-factor for the unit entering his third season out of Charlotte. Highsmith saw his pass-rushing efficiency decrease in 2021 while doubling his snap count from 459 as a rookie to 910 last season.
There’s an argument to be made for the Steelers to be No. 1 on this list, due to the presence of TJ Watt and Cameron Heyward (they had 32 combined sacks last season).
But the retirement of Stephon Tuitt hurts the Steelers’ depth a bit, which is likely what led to them falling to No. 4 on this list.
Regardless of where the Steelers’ defensive line is ranked on this list, one thing is certain — Pittsburgh’s defense will be among the most feared in the NFL in 2022.
Featured image via USA TODAY Sports