With the start of training camp for the Pittsburgh Steelers still a few days away, there is just enough time to sneak in one more piece about another rankings list destined to torment some members of Steeler Nation.
Pro Football Focus have moved on from their top-100 lists this offseason in favor of a smaller sample size as of late. But in their most recent top-10 rankings at quarterback, running back and wide receiver published this week, it would appear that only Ben Roethlisberger is considered good enough for inclusion this year.
8. BEN ROETHLISBERGER, PITTSBURGH STEELERS
2018 OVERALL GRADE RANK: 16
Like Ryan, Roethlisberger still turned in an above average season; it just wasn’t the standard we’ve come to expect from him. He earned the lowest overall grade (78.2) and passing grade (75.2) we’ve seen from him since his 2011 campaign.
From PFF’s 2019 QB Annual:
“Roethlisberger got off to a sloppy start, where he was forcing throws left and right into coverage, and his timing and accuracy were all over the place – especially down the field. He cleaned up his game in the middle part of the season with a mix of a quick passing attack and better accuracy on throws of 20-plus yards. Inconsistency throughout a game was the common theme for this year, as they are for many years when he doesn’t play up to a top-10 standard – with poor decisions under duress late in the play, sloppy ball location at times and then bouncing back to make a big play when it was needed.”
Unsurprisingly, Tom Brady takes the top spot, with Drew Brees coming in second. The much hyped Patrick Mahomes is prefered over Aaron Rodgers at three and four respectively, while Andrew Luck rounds out the top-5.
There can be little complaint about the names included in this group, even if some might take issue with the order, but placing Roethlisberger behind Russell Wilson (6) and Matt Ryan (7) might be considered a debatable decision by some. Having led the league in passing in 2018, eighth spot on the list is rather harsh. Sitting him behind a quarterback who’s most notable claim to fame is blowing the biggest halftime lead in Super Bowl history is certainly questionable.
But if Roethlisberger was in anyway slighted by his ranking, both James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster must be feeling somewhat left out. Neither were able to crack the top-10 at their respective position groups, with names like Aaron Jones (7), Tarik Cohen (9) and James White (10) all prefered over Conner.
Smith-Schuster might have even less of a complaint than Conner, with Davante Adams (10) possibly the only name on the list he could reasonably be expected to have been placed ahead of.