1 bold prediction for every Steelers positional unit

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We are just a week away from the start of the NFL regular season. The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to make people forget about that dreadful playoff loss that ended the 2020 season. Let’s take a look at each positional unit and make one bold prediction for each one.

Quarterbacks

In 2018, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had his best season throwing for career highs in passing yards and passing touchdowns. Our bold prediction for 2021 is Roethlisberger will match or top both the 5,129 passing yards and 34 passing touchdowns.

Running backs

(AP Photo/Don Wright)

The Steelers spent their first-round pick on running back Najee Harris in hopes of resurrecting a dying rushing offense. Harris will have a huge rookie season but as much for his ability to catch the football as his ability to run it. 1,600 total yards on the season for Harris and offensive rookie of the year.

Wide receivers

(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Pittsburgh has three wide receivers who could all emerge as the team's top weapon in the passing game. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool are all exceptional players with their own strengths in this scheme. But I've been on the Claypool bandwagon since he was drafted and I'll stick with it. We predict Claypool will lead the team in both receptions and receiving yards.

Tight ends

(AP Photo/Fred Vuich)

The Steelers have two starter-quality tight ends in Eric Ebron and Pat Freiermuth. But we predict by mid-season, Freiermuth is the primary tight end in this offense and Ebron is relegated to reserve duties. This will be especially true in the red zone where Freiermuth is deadly.

Offensive tackle

(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Unfortunately for Zach Banner, he's on IR and won't be ready to start the season. This means rookie Dan Moore Jr. is thrust into the starting lineup. We aren't going to predict Moore replaces Banner when he's healthy because that isn't how head coach Mike Tomlin operates. But just like last year when then-rookie Kevin Dotson was the best interior offensive lineman on the team, Moore will be the team's best offensive tackle.

Interior offensive line

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Training camp had its ups and downs for guard Kevin Dotson but he is where he belongs now as the team's starting left guard. This season as a fulltime starter, Dotson gets the attention of the league and makes his first Pro Bowl.

Defensive line

(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

It has been tragic to watch the offseason unfold for defensive end Stephon Tuitt. The knee injury that has kept him sidelined is secondary to mourning the loss of his brother and now he finds himself on IR to start the year. Our bold, but disappointing prediction for this season is Tuitt misses more than half the season with this nagging knee injury.

Outside linebacker

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

There's no more exciting group on the Steelers defense than these outside linebackers. T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Melvin Ingram and Jamir Jones are a fearsome foursome hunting down quarterbacks. Our prediction for this one is two-fold. First, Watt will lead the league in sacks and finally get Defensive Player of the year. But also, Highsmith will crack 10 sacks in his first season as the fulltime starter.

Inside linebacker

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers coaches took a look at the inside linebacker depth chart and decided they had to make a trade for veteran Joe Schobert to bolster a questionable unit. Schobert and Devin Bush will be the starters but Bush is still coming back from his torn ACL. What is there to be bold about this group? How about Schobert being named an All-Pro in his first season in Pittsburgh? This offensive is tailor-made for him to put up huge numbers.

Cornerback

Karl Roser / Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh will start the season with two new starters at cornerback but those names are yet to be determined. Some combination of James Pierre, Cameron Sutton and Ahkello Witherspoon will line up behind Joe Haden. Our bold prediction? We love Sutton's potential so let's say he is the guy who ends up leading the team in interceptions.

Safety

Caitlyn Epes / Pittsburgh Steelers

Last year's starting lineup returns but both reserves are brand new. Rookie Tre Norwood has looked very good and should eventually start for this defense. Pittsburgh added former first-round pick Karl Joseph to the practice squad but he should be on the 53-man roster sooner rather than later. So what is my bold prediction for this group? It has to do with Terrell Edmunds. We are predicting his best season before he heads off to free agency with 125+ tackles.

Special teams

(AP Photo/Don Wright)

It's hard to get too bold about punters and kickers but let's try. Pittsburgh already made a bold move by naming rookie punter Pressley Harvin III the starter and releasing Jordan Berry. Let's take it one step further and say Harvin will make a Pro Bowl in his first NFL season.

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