2022 Steelers have a plausible chance of producing three double-digit Sackers
Are you ready to see a lot more sacks from the Pittsburgh Steelers defense in 2022? After leading the NFL in total sacks for a fifth straight season in 2021, it’s not out of the question that the Steelers defense could extend that steak to six in 2022 and especially if outside linebacker TJ Watt has a similar season at the start. ‘last year. Building on that, the past three seasons the Steelers have had two players with double-digit sacks in the regular season. Can they do it a fourth time in a row in 2022? It is very likely. However, what about the team’s chances of having three players with double-digit sacks in 2022? With the NFL now having 17 game seasons, it’s plausible that could happen.
The Steelers have never had three players with double-digit sacks in a single season, so 2022 would be the first time. Even though the Steelers haven’t accomplished that feat, it’s been done more times than you probably realize over the years. According to Pro Football Reference, teams have had three players with double-digit sacks 35 times in total since 1961. In the past 20 years, however, one team has only produced three players with double-digit sacks twice. in one regular. season and the Buffalo Bills were the team two consecutive years in 2013 and 2014. Interestingly, neither of these Bills teams made the playoffs in 2013 and 2014.
The last time the Steelers were reasonably close to having three players with double-digit sacks in a single season was in 2020. That season Watt had 15 sacks, defensive end Stephon Tuitt had 11 sacks and outside linebacker Bud Dupree had 8. However, if Dupree hadn’t missed the last five games of this season with a knee injury, it’s likely he would have hit double-digit sacks as well. .
Currently, the Steelers only have two players under contract who have had double-digit sack seasons in their NFL careers. Watt is obviously one of those players as he has accomplished this feat four consecutive seasons. The other player is defensive tackle Cameron Heyward, who twice recorded double-digit sacks in a single season. With that, it would make sense that if the Steelers were to have three double-digit sackers in 2022, Watt and Heyward would make two in the line. In fact, it’ll be pretty disappointing if the two don’t hit double-digit sacks in 2022.
So who would be the third most likely player to join Watt and Heyward as the third double-digit sacker in 2022? Well, obviously that player would likely be outside linebacker Alex Highsmith, who to date has eight career sacks in his first two NFL seasons. After recording a career-high six sacks in 2021, Highsmith recently said his goal in 2022 is to hit double digits. If he stays healthy in 2022, he should have a good chance of doing just that.
A double-digit sack season for Highsmith in 2022 would be smartly timed and 2023 expected to be the final year of his rookie contract. In short, a double-digit sack season by Highsmith in 2022 could lead to the former Charlotte Steelers third-round draft pick receiving a lucrative contract extension from the team next summer.
So while the odds are very much against the Steelers to have a trio of double-digit sacers in 2022, it’s entirely plausible that they could. If they can accomplish such a feat, I suspect Watt, Heyward and Highsmith would be part of the trio. I can’t wait to see if they can do it.