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Thread: Steelers judged to have NFL’s 6th-worst roster

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    Steelers judged to have NFL’s 6th-worst roster

    Robinson: Steelers judged to have NFL’s 6th-worst roster

    by Alan Robinson

    Are they really that bad? Really?

    Pro Football Focus rated each of the 32 NFL teams’ lineups from top to bottom and concluded the Steelers have the NFL’s sixth-worst roster. The only teams ranked below the Steelers at No. 27 are the Raiders, Vikings, Falcons, Rams and Jaguars

    Even the Browns, who are undergoing their usual coaching and front office shuffle, are ranked ahead of the Steelers at No. 24. The Bengals – despite their usual postseason fold-up act — are the top-rated AFC North team at No. 7 and the Ravens are No. 16

    Pro Football Focus ranked 12 players on each team on offense and defense (to account for the nickel/third down sets all teams use) with a scale that ranged from Elite to Poor. In between were High quality, Good, Average and Below Average. There also were categories for players with little playing experience, such as Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer (not enough information) and rookies.

    The Bengals (defensive lineman Geno Atkins) and Browns (left tackle Joe Thomas) were the only teams in the division with an elite player. None of the Steelers or Ravens players were rated that highly

    The Steelers were judged to have three high-quality players — quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, wide receiver Antonio Brown and strong safety Troy Polamalu. Only 10 of their 24 starters were judged to be above average.

    The Steelers offense’s ratings by Pro Football Focus:

    QB Ben Roethlisberger High quality
    RB Le’Veon Bell Average
    TE Heath Miller Average
    TE Matt Spaeth Below average
    WR Antonio Brown High quality
    WR Lance Moore Good
    WR Markus Wheaton Below average
    LT Kelvin Beachum Average
    LG Ramon Foster Good
    C Maurkice Pouncey Good
    RG David DeCastro Good
    RT Marcus Gilbert Average

    The Steelers defense’s ratings:

    LE Cam Thomas Average
    NT Steve McLendon Average
    RE Cam Heyward Good
    OLB Jason Worilds Good
    ILB Ryan Shazier Rookie
    ILB Lawrence Timmons Good
    OLB Jarvis Jones Below average
    CB Cortez Allen Average
    CB Ike Taylor Below average
    CB William Gay Average
    SS Troy Polamalu High quality
    FS Mike Mitchell Average

    While the Steelers have just three elite or high quality players in Pro Football Focus’ judgment, the Browns have six: Thomas, WR Josh Gordon (who might not play this season), C Alex Mack, ILB Karlos Dansby, CB Joe Haden and S Donte Whitner.

    Here’s what Pro Football Focus has to say about a Steelers roster that has undergone quite the overhaul over the last two years: “Once held up as a shining example to the rest of the league for how to run a franchise, the Steelers have allowed their roster to be eroded talent-wise for several years now, and are clinging onto being in contention for playoff spots at the end of the season thanks to having a top-quality quarterback and little else.

    “The team simply has not drafted well, failing to replace key personnel when they needed to, and then persisting with struggling players long past the point they should have given up on them. Ike Taylor is still used as if he were a shutdown corner, shadowing an opponent’s best receiver despite surrendering six touchdowns in 2013 and a passer rating into his coverage of 110.6.” (Note: The Steelers stopped using Taylor this way late last season.)

    Pro Football Focus also writes: “The departure of Emmanuel Sanders in free agency means the team needs Markus Wheaton to step up, and for all the draft picks spent on the offensive line, it remains a unit that has yet to distinguish itself.”

    One more: “Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown are the other two high-quality starters, and they might be the only players keeping the Steelers competitive into December.”

    So do the Steelers really have the worst roster in the AFC North? Multiple national NFL analysts have praised the Steelers’ offseason procurement of eight free agents and their draft class and believe they are on the upswing, not the further downslide following successive 8-8 records that Pro Football Focus projects.

    The players who appear to be graded too low include Bell, who could be a 1,100-yard, 40-catch running back this season, Miller, Pouncey and DeCastro, plus Worilds, Timmons and Mitchell on defense.

    Such ratings/grades/analysis/projections mean nothing in June – just as preseason college football polls in August have proven to be wildly inaccurate projections of the season to come. But they appear to predict a further slide by a team coming off successive non-winning seasons, and it will be interesting to see how accurate they are once the season starts.

    That season starts Sept. 7, by the way, when the No. 24 Browns visit the No. 27 Steelers.


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    Heyward and Timmons are criminally underrated.

    I read this the other day....the browns are ahead of the steelers lol....what a joke.

  3. #3
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    I like this sort of stuff. Being under the radar in June is the best place to be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by K Train View Post
    Heyward and Timmons are criminally underrated.

    I read this the other day....the browns are ahead of the steelers lol....what a joke.
    This is why you can't rely on Pro Football Focus as the be all-end all for NFL players.

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    This is a total joke. Bell is just average? Only if you didn't follow the team, and realize he missed a month. Whoever wrote this obviously looked at just stats and judged them in that manner. Let's see: Bell and Gilbert are both judged at the same level. If Gilbert is an average OT then so am I. He is beyond horrible. Only five teams have less talent than Pgh? BS. Dallas is better with their record-breaking horrid D? The Bills and Jets are better? The Redskins? This is garbage.

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    The Bills roster is loaded, but i dont get how they are ranked higher than the steelers when the rams are ranked lower...bills and rams have very similar rosters imo, mostly on defense and offensive line

    Look just at the browns though.

    QB - Steelers by a landslide
    RB - Steelers
    WR - Steelers- without gordon they have burleson, hawkins, benjamin, miles austin lol
    TE - Browns probably
    OT - Browns
    OG - Steelers
    C - Slight nod to the browns, but its close

    DE - Draw
    NT - Browns
    OLB - Browns (Sheard, Mingo, Kruger...pretty solid)
    MLB - Steelers - Timmons > Dansby
    CB - Browns
    FS - Steelers
    SS - Steelers

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobinCole View Post
    I like this sort of stuff. Being under the radar in June is the best place to be.

    Umm, wouldn't call this being under the radar. This kind of reporting will get tons of play all preseason.

    The author has very valid points. Wouldn't agree with the final conclusion, but having a roster vs the result produced are two different things. We should expect this kind of article after back to back non-winning seasons. It just goes with the territory, beating down a former high-flyer is easy pickings.

    The good thing, the Steelers recognized shortcomings and have taken rather dramatic actions to fix them. It should be a fun season watching the new blood emerge!

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    If we have the sixt worst roster and can finish 8-8 I guess we have brilliant coaching.

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    Usually when teams get disrespected by the media, it serves as motivation to prove them wrong.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by bowldog View Post
    Usually when teams get disrespected by the media, it serves as motivation to prove them wrong.
    Almost like clockwork: If Pgh is hyped as being a contender, a bad season is coming. When they are counted out, 10+ win season and in contention. Not always, but often.


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