Steelers in the PFF Top 101

Pro Football Focus released it's top 101 list last week and there were several Steelers who cracked the list. Here is what PFF said;

68. James Harrison, OLB Pittsburgh Steelers

Only injury prevented Harrison from finishing higher, as he was still able to turn his 681 regular season snaps (including plays with pre snaps penalties) into a +23.6 grade. That was the sixth-highest grade of all 3-4 outside linebackers, with the Steeler once again ending the year with a positive grade in every category (except for penalties). The most complete outside linebacker in the league, the former undrafted free agent can do it all and that doesn’t look to be changing any time soon.

Best Performance: Week 3 at Indianapolis (+6.6)

Key Stat: Had the third-highest Pass Rushing Productivity among outside linebackers who rushed the passer at least 200 times. 40 combined sacks, hits, and hurries on just 235 pass rushes will do that.

As the stats say James Harrison had the third highest pass rush efficiency among OLBs and it was fifth most in the league. If you are wondering where Terrell Suggs is he isn't on the top 20 list. Harrisons numbers could have been better but he played the beginning of the year at maybe 80% with the back injury. Then once back from injury conditioning became a problem. Expect Harrison to come into camp in great shape and in his usual form.

63. Mike Wallace, WR Pittsburgh Steelers

With teams showing Wallace more respect, he wasn’t quite able to make the same impact as he did in 2010. That’s more a complement to his sophomore season than a knock on this one where he picked up 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s becoming more than just a go-route and bubble screen receiver as teams did everything they could to stop him from getting behind them. Wallace remains a player capable of changing a game like few others.

Best Performance: Week 2 versus Seattle (+3.4)

Key Stat: Only dropped four passes all year, giving him the 11th-best drop rate of all receivers

Wallace is definitely improving his game but what stood out here is the "only four drops all year". Many fans have knocked Wallace for his drops but the man who he wants to be paid like had only 3 drops all year to his name... just saying. As a disclaimer Fitz was targeted far more than Wallace.

60. Antonio Brown, WR Pittsburgh Steelers

While everyone was looking at Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown stepped up and became one of the league’s most productive receivers. Brown was our seventh-highest graded receiver despite only being on the field for 427 pass routes. He put forth a series of displays after Week 6 that highlighted his emergence as someone who could hurt you all over the field. If that’s not enough, Brown was also our second-ranked returner on the year, earning positive grades for his work running back kicks and punts. It seems something invariably happens when you get the ball in his hands.

Best Performance: Week 7 at Arizona (+3.2)

Key Stat: Finished third in the league averaging 2.59 Yards Per Route Run.

That 2.59 Yards per Route Run is third in the league behind Victor Cruz and Jordy Nelson. This statistic by PFF is used to show just how important a player is to the offense when on the field. Wallace was 16th on this list with 2.15 Yards per Route Run. What does this mean? Well Antonio Brown with 127 less routes than Wallace only finished with 85 less yards than Wallace. In short as the definitive starter next year expect big things from Antonio.

48. Ben Roethlisberger, QB Pittsburgh Steelers

Stuck behind an offensive line that continues to give up pressure on a consistent basis, Roethlisberger had to work harder than most for his 4,077 passing yards. That’s all the more remarkable considering he played with a severely injured ankle which also forced him to miss time. Even so, his performances still propelled the Steelers to the playoffs in a way numbers can’t adequately quantify.

Best Performance: Week 2 versus Seattle (+3.6)

Key Stat: Completed 54.8% of passes when pressured; the fifth-highest of all quarterbacks.

Not a lot of stats here but I think with a better offensive line we can expect Ben and the passing offense to excel this year. Just hope Haley can teach Ben to not take the unnecessary shot all the time. Getting five yards is better then getting a concussion trust me.

33. Troy Polamalu, SS Pittsburgh Steelers

Some think Polamalu’s best days are behind him, but he still has an ability to change a game with his knack for making plays. He finished the year as our top-ranked safety by a distance, even if he did a lot of his good work against bad offenses. Grading positively in every area of his game while finishing (amongst safeties) 1st in pass rushing, third in run defense and fourth in coverage. You can’t quantify what he means to the Steelers’ defense.

Best Performance: Week 3 at Indianapolis (+5.8)

Key Stat: Broke up an incredible 13 passes. The second-best safety only managed nine.

As PFF says those that think Polamalu is finished are misinformed. Those that say Polamalu can't cover are trying to make a generalization based on one poor guess in the Super Bowl. While he may not have many high years left my guess three he is still the best safety in the league. Polamalu is also the highest rated Steeler on the list. What he does for the Steelers defense isn't even quantifiable but can be summed up visually in that five week span in 2009.

For Comparison sake Baltimore had six players on the list

Haloti Ngata at #90, Ray Rice at #85, Ray Lewis at #58, Marshall Yanda at #34 who is the best right guard in the league according to PFF (until DeCastro plays), Ladarius Webb at #25 and Seabiscuit Terrell Suggs at #7.

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