The Pittsburgh Steelers have to get back to the Super Bowl. They haven’t been since the 2010 season when they lost to the Green Bay Packers.

That loss didn’t really hurt the franchise overall, as they are still known as one of the best and are still one of the most respected. I mean, when was the last time they finished a season under .500? Exactly.

The Ben Roethlisberger era is officially over, and of course, fans are looking for their next franchise quarterback. Without that leadership in the locker room, someone will need to step up. And if the Steelers want to get back to the Super Bowl, it starts with winning in the playoffs again. To do that, they will need these three players to be ‘as advertised’ this year.

Steelers need three players to produce as expected in 2022

1. WR Diontae Johnson

Diontae Johnson emerged as one of the league’s best receivers last year. Fans of other teams will argue that statement, but the numbers don’t lie. With JuJu Smith-Schuster now in Kansas City, Johnson will have plenty of opportunities to have more targets, like last year.

Johnson is under the expectation to be consistently good. After the season he had last year, where he finished with the 10th-most receiving yards, it makes sense. According to Pro Football Focus, Johnson also finished with an overall grade of 73.2. 

Johnson is easily the team’s best skill position player and will need to continue produce like he has if the Steelers offense wants to make a name for itself in 2022.

2. OL James Daniels

Daniels is a versatile offensive lineman that the Steelers added through free agency. He should immediately earn a starting spot and could very well be considered the Steelers’ best offensive lineman without despite the fact he’s yet to take a snap in black and gold.

The Steelers really need Daniels to live up to the hype this year. The offensive line is in flux and the team/coaching staff is looking for the guy who can help stabilize the unit.

Daniels can be that guy. If he pulls it off, the Steelers offensive line should be OK, overall. But, if Daniels fails to live up to his billing, it could spell disaster.

3. DL Larry Ogunjobi

Despite being injured during Wild Card Weekend and missing the rest of the playoffs, Ogunjobi was a hot name after the Bengals’ Super Bowl run.

It’s easy to see why. Ogunjobi was a force in both run defense and the passing game. He was so good that the Bears tried to sign him to a three-year, $40.5 million deal back in March but a failed physical nuked the deal. Ogunjobi would’ve been one of the league’s highest-paid defensive linemen if things worked out.

Fortunately, what blew up in the Bears’ faces may turn out to be a win for the Steelers.

At least, they need to it to be.

It remains to be seen how much Ogunjobi’s playoff injury affects his play in 2022, but the Steelers need as little affect as possible. The run defense suffered terribly in 2021 without Tyson Alualu and Stephon Tuitt in the lineup and now, the latter is retired.

The Steelers need Ogunjobi to come in and help solidify the defensive line. He can not only do that, but make it better than it’s been in years past, which will go a long way toward returning the Steelers defense to the top of the pile.

Featured Image Credit Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports