There is no denying the talent on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ current roster. They are considered Super Bowl contenders by most experts, but just how deep is their roster? To decipher that fact, ESPN took a look at all 32 NFL teams’ rosters to see who had the best talent under the age of 25.
Before fans jump off the deep end considering the Steelers’ rank on the list, it should be noted this will favor teams who have to rely on younger players to fill out their 53-man roster. Teams like the Cleveland Browns who have a plethora of draft picks, but until this year lacked any type of veteran presence across their roster.
On the flip side, the Steelers have veterans like Joe Haden, Ben Roethlisberger and Maurkice Pouncey who, since older than 25, will actually hurt the Steelers in these rankings. With that said, time to see where the Steelers rank, and ESPN’s explanation of why the Steelers rank where they do.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers
“Pittsburgh’s mastery of drafting wide receivers is well-known, but it was reinforced with JuJu Smith-Schuster’s rookie performance last year. He finished No. 1 in DVOA for wide receivers and made the longest catch in the NFL last season (a 97-yard touchdown in Detroit). If rookie James Washington can have a similar impact in replacing Martavis Bryant, then the Steelers are poised to climb up these rankings. There are only so many balls to go around, but tight end Jesse James is still only 24. He would have had an extra touchdown under new catch rules ... maybe.
The Steelers also have been a linebacker factory for decades, and last year’s first-round selection of T.J. Watt should only continue to pay off well for the defense. The secondary is where Pittsburgh has struggled over the years, but cornerback Artie Burns showed some improvement in his second season. He still gambles a bit too much, but he is only 23. Safety Sean Davis missed 21 tackles last season, but he is worthy of starting. First-round rookie Terrell Edmunds should be able to contribute this season, but an unheralded player in this secondary is Mike Hilton. The Steelers love to blitz him and no cornerback had more than his eight quarterback knockdowns last season.
The Steelers have a lot of potential to rank higher in 2019 if this secondary continues to develop together and Smith-Schuster avoids a sophomore slump.”
What do you think of these rankings? Do you see the Steelers’ arrow pointing up, or down, in regards to the team’s Under-25 talent? Let us know by leaving a comment in the comment section below!