With 19 days to go until the start of training camp for the Pittsburgh Steelers, we continue our 30 predictions in 30 days series with another bold claim for 2019.
Alternating daily between myself and BTSC Editor Jeff Hartman, we will offer our predictions for the upcoming season. Some will be team oriented, while others will be specific to individual players. Posing an argument for and against our predictions, we invite you to weigh in on the debate as well.
Following on from Jeff’s claim that Bud Dupree will record nine sacks in 2019 on Friday, I turn my attention toward the potential individual accolades the Steelers will win this season.
Prediction: The Steelers will see at least three players named to All-Pro teams in 2019.
Why it will happen: A 9-6-1 season that ended with Pittsburgh missing the playoffs also resulted in just one player being voted to either AP All-Pro team in 2018. Ultimately, center Maurkice Pouncey was the lone second-team selection last year, just a season removed from the Steelers having four player named first-team All-Pro in 2017.
Expecting a return to the top of the AFC North with at least 10 wins, Pittsburgh should also rack up the individual accolades with several prospective candidates ripe for All-Pro selection if they have a successful season that ends with a deep run in the playoffs.
David DeCastro and Pouncey will be two obvious options for the honor in 2019 having been featured on multiple occasions in previous years, while Cam Heyward is another who has been named first-team All-Pro before. But with emerging stars like JuJu Smith-Schuster and T.J. Watt poised to take their game to new heights in their third seasons, both could be candidates for inclusion.
Stephon Tuitt is another who has been seemingly poised for a breakout year for some time, and delivering on that promise might earn him the honor with a decent double digit sack season. Other potential options could include Sean Davis and Alejandro Villanueva.
Why it won’t happen: If Pittsburgh does not having a winning season and a reasonable run in the playoffs, the players have very little chance of catching the eye of the AP voters when it comes to casting their ballots.
And while possible candidates like Smith-Schuster could well shine without Antonio Brown on the roster, it is also not beyond reason that the added coverage he will see in 2019 will negatively impact his numbers from last season. The prospect of both Heyward and Watt making All-Pro is probably unlikely with one player’s sack total likely affecting the other.
What are your thoughts on this prediction? Do you think it will happen? Or are we crazy? Let us know by voting in the poll, and letting your voice be heard in the comment section below!
Will the Steelers see at least three players named All-Pro in 2019?
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