With the NFL Network due to unveil their annual Top 100 list in the coming weeks, the copycats have been out in force as of late. And while CBS Sports has been among the worst offenders when it comes to rankings lists this offseason, their latest attempt at their own Top 100 list released might be one of their more questionable offerings of the year.
Only three players from the Pittsburgh Steelers roster make it onto the list in 2019, with Ben Roethlisberger (44), Cameron Heyward (78) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (80) the only names considered good enough for inclusion according to a panel of CBS Sports writers. Inexplicably, the Dallas Cowboys are the leaders with nine selections, followed closely by the Los Angeles Chargers with seven and the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles all with six each.
Roethlisberger was the ninth quarterback to be named on the list, somehow sitting behind Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons at No.30 and Phillip RIvers at No.23. But in the eyes of author Jared Dubin, even this was too high for the Steelers’ signal caller.
“I’ll admit that I thought this was too high for Roethlisberger. Then I took a look at his numbers from last year, which were basically the same as they were in 2017, but with greater volume. He led the NFL in pass attempts, completions, and yards last season, and his touchdown rate and interception rate were essentially identical to what they were the year before. Perhaps a major drop-off is coming, but it hasn’t arrived just yet.”
The write-up for Heyward seems to suggest a player who should have been much higher than No.78.
“Coming off back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons, Heyward appears to be at the top of his game right now. He’s got 20 sacks, 40 quarterback hits, and 26 tackles for loss over the past two years, numbers that rank second, fifth, and third among defensive tackles league-wide.”
Strangely, a total of 12 wide receivers were ranked ahead of Smith-Schuster, despite few of them touching his level of production in 2018. Not for the first time this offseason, names like Davante Adams of the Green Bay Packers (60) and Amari Cooper from Dallas (79) are once again favored ahead of him.
“When you’re 22 years old and you put up a 111-catch, 1,426-yard, seven-touchdown season and overtake the No. 1 role from a player who was universally considered the best wide receiver in football, you’re going to end up on the Top 100. It’s not at all difficult to see Smith-Schuster ranking significantly higher on next year’s list.”
Perhaps the biggest slight toward Pittsburgh is the failure to include offensive lineman David DeCastro and Maurkice Pouncey. Instead, the list features guards Zack Martin of the Cowboys (32), Quenton Nelson of the Indianapolis Colts (38), Marshall Yanda of the Baltimore Ravens (48) and Shaq Mason of the New England Patriots (99). Jason Kelce of the Philadelphia Eagles (49) and Travis Frederick of Dallas (72) are the only two centers to warrant inclusion.
If someone can give me a valid reason why DeCastro does not deserve to be part of a Top 100 list that includes the four guards named above, I would love to hear.