Talk to any number of Pittsburgh Steelers fans about the 2017 offseason, and they will tell you just how bad the Steelers are. Bemoaning the fact the team didn’t make any big-name acquisitions, and how their main competition in the division and conference did, you would think the team didn’t just advance to the AFC Championship game in 2016.
Sometimes it takes an outside source to help fans realize just how nice they have it, even after a very inactive free agency period, and this is where NFL.com’s most recent Power Rankings, post free agency period, comes in handy.
Why? Because despite their lack of activity in free agency, the team is ranked 3rd in the NFL. See the justification behind the ranking.
Le'Veon Bell thought the Steelers would've beaten the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game had he not gone down with a groin injury. Not too large a boast for arguably the best running back in the NFL — when he's healthy. You see, that's just it. If "a player's best ability is availability," then Bell has some compensating to do, especially considering the compensation he's receiving via the exclusive franchise tag. Bell has missed time -- due to injuries and suspensions -- in each of his four NFL seasons. Not hard to imagine this leading to some reluctance on the franchise's part when it comes to locking him up on a long-term deal. So the Steelers put it off for another year by slapping the tag on the Pro Bowl back. Bell stayed, Lawrence Timmons left. Unfortunately, Timmons' departure to Miami went way unnoticed (if such a thing is possible). This organization's inordinate amount of Hall of Fame and Hall of Very Good linebackers might obscure a rock-solid decade from No. 94.
Having Pittsburgh as the third ranked team is no mistake, nor should anyone consider it to be ill advised. Sure, the Steelers didn’t go out and overpay for a few free agents, but they still have one heck of a roster. There may be the occasional issue with depth, but ultimately their roster is rock solid.
The 2017 NFL Draft will be huge for Pittsburgh. If they can find 2-3 NFL ready players throughout the process, they could be well on their way to Super Bowl 52, and no, I didn’t suddenly realize the New England Patriots stopped playing football. In other words, I like the Steelers roster heading into 2017, and even moreso if they are able to duplicate their NFL Draft success they experienced in 2016, this upcoming spring.
The Top 10 teams post-free agency:
1. New England Patriots
2. Atlanta Falcons
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Oakland Raiders
5. New York Giants
6. Green Bay Packers
7. Dallas Cowboys
8. Kansas City Chiefs
9. Seattle Seahawks
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers