After an aggressive offseason in which the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Russell Wilson and Patrick Queen while trading Kenny Pickett, the team looks to break out of its playoff funk and win its first postseason contest since the 2016 season. As a renovated Steelers team attempts to establish itself as a Super Bowl contender in 2024, its success could depend on the success of its unsung players. Here are two underrated Steelers sleepers who could break out in the 2024 NFL season.

Calvin Austin III (WR)

After missing the 2022 season with a foot injury, Calvin Austin III entered 2023 with excitement around him as the unknown factor in the Steelers receiving corps. The 2022 fourth-round pick had a strong start, recording 12 catches for 143 yards in Pittsburgh's first four games. Austin was on pace to surpass 600 receiving yards in his first season but was barely involved in the Steelers offense the rest of the year. The wideout had just nine catches for 54 yards over the next three months to finish the campaign.

Even with the offseason trade of number-one wide receiver Diontae Johnson, Austin still finds himself as WR4 on this Pittsburgh roster, behind free agent addition Van Jefferson and rookie third-round pick Roman Wilson. Wilson has solid potential, but neither player offers the speed or athleticism that Austin brings to the table. At the NFL Draft Combine, the Memphis wideout ran a 4.32-second 40-yard dash — third among wide receivers — and his overall Athleicism Score of 99 led all wideouts at the combine in 2022.

Calvin Austin III was the eighth pass-catching option on an offense that attempted the fourth-fewest passes in the NFL last year. But rookie Roman named Austin the leader of the Steelers wide receiver room. With new quarterback Russell Wilson under center and a revamped offensive line, the Steelers' passing attack is set to be more prolific in 2024. Calvin Austin III could be the primary beneficiary as one of the veteran members of this young wide receiver group.

Darnell Washington (TE)

Another physical specimen with significant intrigue coming out of the draft, Darnell Washington had a quiet rookie season. The Georgia tight end had just seven catches for 61 yards and no touchdowns while playing 48% of offensive snaps for the Steelers. Much of Washington's value came as a blocker, but he could be involved more offensively in his second NFL campaign under new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith.

Smith was the Atlanta Falcons head coach in 2023, and the team led the NFL in receiving yards by tight ends, with Atlanta TEs combining for 1,380 yards in the air. Kyle Pitts led the way with 667 receiving yards, but number two tight end Jonnu Smith was not far behind with a career-high 582 yards. Smith played 58% of offensive snaps for the Falcons, not far behind Pitts' total of 64%. With Pat Freiermuth and Darnell Washington, the Steelers offense could support similar production in 2024.

With Arthur Smith's frequent tight end usage, Darnell Washington's blocking will get him on the field more in 2024. The Steelers ranked 25th in touchdown percentage in the red zone in 2023, and the 6-7 could help solve those red zone frustrations. But Smith's reliance on play-action passes (43% of their pass plays were play-action) means that Washington could be in for a breakout season as a pass-catcher in 2024, using his size and underrated speed to create mismatches across the field — especially in the end zone.