2 Pittsburgh Steelers Rookies Named Immediate Impact Threats

Roman Wilson, Pittsburgh Steelers
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to get back into contention in the tough AFC in the upcoming 2024 NFL season. After making the playoffs last season, the Steelers have made plenty of moves that should end up being upgrades. They should be a much better and more dangerous team than they were last season.

Not only did the Steelers make good moves in free agency and via the trade market, they also had a great 2024 NFL Draft.

Following the draft, ESPN NFL analyst Field Yates listed two of the Steelers’ rookies as potential immediate impact players. Both Roman Wilson and Payton Wilson made the cut for the list.

Pittsburgh Steelers Rookies Already Turning Heads

Here is what Yates had to say about Roman Wilson, the wide receiver out of Michigan that the Steelers took in the third round.

“Wilson is a slick route runner with excellent speed and incredible hands, traits that will translate to the NFL. He has the lateral agility and suddenness to play a starting slot role right away, something the Steelers need as they reshape their receiver room after the Diontae Johnson trade. Pittsburgh’s well-established track record of getting the most out of second- and third-round receivers makes me feel that much more confident Wilson will be a quality pro. He caught 12 TDs in 2023 and averaged 16 yards per catch over four seasons at Michigan.”

On the other side of the football, the Pittsburgh Steelers feel that they got a major steal in the later stages of the third round than they got Roman Wilson. Payton Wilson was projected to be a much higher pick, but injury concerns caused him to slip much further down in the draft than expected. Yates had great things to say about the rookie linebacker as well.

“One of my favorite players to study in this entire class lasted until the final few picks of the third round because of medical concerns (he had knee and shoulder injuries in college), but Pittsburgh could reap major rewards. Wilson has great speed and versatility, as he can be an instant starter at inside linebacker (alongside Patrick Queen) and also rush off the edge in obvious passing situations. There’s not much in the linebacker playbook that he can’t handle.”

All of that being said, it’s clear that the Steelers nailed their picks during the 2024 NFL Draft. Tomlin and company have to be excited about their young talent heading into the season.

For Roman Wilson, the Steelers will be needing him to step up into an immediate starting role. Barring another addition of a wide receiver, he is projected to be the No. 3 wide receiver to start the season. He could even work his way up to No. 2 if he outperforms Van Jefferson during training camp and preseason action.

As for Payton Wilson, the Steelers will be needing him to be a valuable second-string player. If an injury happens, he’ll be put into the starting lineup. Looking long-term, there is no question that Pittsburgh views him as a key part of the defense and a starter.

Expect to see both of these players live up to the hype. They were both more than capable of being drafted much higher than the Pittsburgh Steelers ended up getting them. Also, they’ll both have an opportunity to prove teams wrong for passing on them right off the bat in their rookie campaigns.

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