One of the toughest aspects of professional sports to do is to try and look to the future and see what a franchise might look like in a few years. Why is this exercise so difficult? Mainly because a sports organization, in any sport, can’t be focused solely on the future, but the present.
You can’t have nothing but young players and expect to win. In fact, you need to have a good mixture of veterans and young players to complement one another. Nonetheless, ESPN recently gave their thoughts on the future of NFL organizations by putting out their ‘future’ rankings.
They broke things down as follows:
Take a look at the Top 10, and where the Pittsburgh Steelers fell among their NFL brethren:
“Why they’re here: There’s a standard in Pittsburgh that starts with reaching the playoffs annually, which is why 2018 was a disappointing season for Mike Tomlin & Co. But a bounce back should be expected, as the Steelers possess many of the requisite ingredients for success. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s extension aligns with the three-year window of this project, while Pittsburgh’s offensive line is one of the best in football. Notable question marks that loom for the Steelers are how much this offense will miss Antonio Brown and how quickly linebacker Devin Bush can assert himself as the quarterback of the defense. This team is set up to be successful. -- Yates
Biggest worry: Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster combined for 53% of the Steelers’ receiving yards last season. Only the Vikings’ Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs combined for a higher percentage of their team’s receiving yardage among receiver duos. So the question is: Will Smith-Schuster be able to handle the pressure that comes with being the No. 1 target, and who will step up and fill the No. 2 role that he leaves behind? Those are big questions that need to be answered for a team that will be much better defensively and now has the Browns making big moves with big expectations within the division. -- Riddick
What could change for the better: The panel gave high ratings to a roster that is in transition following the departures of Brown and tailback Le’Veon Bell, and one that faces another change at some point when the 37-year-old Roethlisberger retires. One improvement that could elevate the team’s Super Bowl chances is Tomlin’s game-day decisions, something he and the entire franchise have worked on this offseason. -- Seifert”
What do you think of the rankings? Should the Steelers be higher? Or are they about where they should be. Let us know in the comment section below!