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Ranking the 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers roster heading into Preseason Week 2: The Offense

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Ranking each player at their position after the first preseason game.

NFL: Preseason-Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Just like my defense power rankings, I’m ranking them by what I’ve seen on film, ignoring draft investment and contracts. This is not a 53 man roster prediction.

On to the film reactions and rankings.

Quarterback

Josh Dobbs: Had some nice passes and is dynamic when he runs. Looked like his pocket presence has improved, but still a ways from good. Drops 1 spot.

Mason Rudolph: Better footwork and pocket presence than I was seeing in camp film, and his passes had nice touch on them. Good outing for Rudolph. Moves up 1 spot.

Devlin Hodges: He was a good 4th string QB, but his arm, decision making, footwork and pocket presence are all behind Dobbs and Rudolph. He isn’t a real threat to either at this point. No movement.

My current QB rankings:

1. Ben Roethlisberger
2. Mason Rudolph
3. Joshua Dobbs
4. Devlin Hodges


Running Back

Benny Snell: Really struggled early, making poor reads, failing at chip blocks, stumbling over his own feet. The line was blocking really well on almost every run he had throughout the game, and he lost yards early and later did better but was still disappointing. He looked good catching the ball. Looking at the blocking I kept waiting for Snell to slip through the hole or power through an arm and break a big run, but he never did. I was surprised to see him not break tackles at all. Late in the game he started driving defenders for a few yards, but even against third stringers he wasn’t breaking loose. Really hoping it was just a rough first day for Benny. Drops 1 spot.

Trey Edmunds: Whiffed badly on one pass block, but he showed up in several blitz pickups and threw some knockout blows on chip blocks. Was a more decisive and effective runner than Snell although not a receiving threat at all. There is no excuse for Snell to be behind Trey Edmunds and I expect Snell to correct the situation, but for now Edmunds moves up 1 spot.

My current RB rankings:

1. James Conner
2. Jaylen Samuels
3. Trey Edmunds
4. Benny Snell Jr.
5. Travon McMillian

Fullback ranking:

Roosevelt Nix got one snap, no one else played FB.

1. Roosevelt Nix


Tight End

Xavier Grimble: He was used almost exclusively as a blocker and was impressive, taking on LBs and DEs and winning every matchup. Didn’t move, but increased his hold on the #2 spot.

Christian Scotland-Williamson: Sad he didn’t get to play more, he did a good job blocking, even if he doesn’t get low easily. He didn’t show up in the passing game in his limited time. Hamstring injury crushes his chances of building on it. Drops 1 spot

Zach Gentry: Looked good for the most part, had some impressive blocks, including driving a 300 lb DT with starter experience backwards, but he also struggled when he didn’t have a good start to the block. His route running, awareness and hands lived up to his college tape, and he played a part blocking downfield a few times. Moves up 1 spot.

Kevin Rader: Did not have a good game, one of his first snaps he was driven into Switzer knocking them both out of their routes. He got beat on several blocks as well. Drops 1 spot.

My current TE rankings:

1. Vance McDonald
2. Xavier Grimble
3. Zach Gentry
4. Kevin Rader
5. Travis Wood
6. Christian Scotland-Williamson


Wide Receiver

James Washington: Had a great game as a receiver, showed improved ability to create separation, flashed his great hands and big catch ability, and stood out throughout the game as a blocker, on run plays and on returns. Moves up 1 spot.

Ryan Switzer: Was surprised by how much he played, didn’t show much as a route runner and didn’t record a catch, but I believe he had a drop. Expected to see more growth from him in his routes. Drops 3 spots.

Tevin Jones: Physical receiver with decent route running and good hands. Didn’t do enough to move into the top 6, played ST but didn’t show up much. He’s another Cobi Hamilton. Moves up 1 spot.

Johnny Holton: Speed really showed on his long catch and run, on ST as a gunner and in drawing a pass interference call. He’s got a great shot of filling DHB’s role on ST and his role as a depth deep threat like DHB was in his first few seasons here. Having a 5th WR enter the game with speed to burn and great yards after catch threat is a headache for the defense. Moves up 4 spots.

My current WR rankings:

1. JuJu Smith-Schuster
2. James Washington
3. Donte Moncreif
4. Diontae Johnson
5. Johnny Holton
6. Eli Rogers
7. Tevin Jones
8. Ryan Switzer
9. Diontae Spencer
10. Trey Griffey
11. Brandon Reilly


Offensive Line

Some players will be listed at multiple positions.

Chukwuma Okorafor: Had a tough game, rushers attacked him high, getting hands in his chest and neck area and driving him back. When he sat back on that they went around him. His guy blew up plays far too often. Drops 1 spot.

B.J. Finney: Didn’t have a good game, got beat a high percentage of plays he was engaged 1v1. Needs to bounce back, but his job isn’t really at risk. Drops 1 spot.

Fred Johnson: The most impressive performance of the night, he was great in pass protection and in the run game. He also played most of the game, from the first snap into the 4th quarter. He lived up to the recent hype, but it was clear that early on Finney was focused on helping his side in 4 man rushes.

Zach Banner: Impressive game. Struggled a bit with speed and finesse, and while he played most of the game he didn’t face any legit NFL pass rushers. Three times a Tampa Bay DT timed the snap and drove into Banner hard before he got out of his set, and he was able to absorb the hit and keep it from wrecking the play each time. Moves up 2 spots.

Patrick Morris: Stalwart at Guard in this game, not as great at Center. Drops 1 spot at Center, moves up 2 spots in Guard.

Jerald Hawkins: Showed awareness and skill, but was pushed around and driven backwards regularly. Drops 2 spots

J.C. Hassenhauer: Not a good guard at all, was driven back and beaten often. Looked better at Center the short while he was there. Moves up 1 spot at Center.

Derwin Gray: Played Guard for a few plays at the end, looked solid. Drops 2 spots at Guard because of the order they got in and how well others did.

My current OL rankings:

Tackle:

1. Alejandro Villenueva
2. Matt Feiler
3. Zach Banner
4. Chuks Okorafor
5. Derwin Gray
6. Jerald Hawkins
7. Damian Prince

Guard:

1. David DeCastro
2. Ramon Foster
3. Matt Feiler
4. Fred Johnson
5. Patrick Morris
6. Derwin Gray
7. Garrett Brumfield

Center:

1. Maurkice Pouncey
2. B.J. Finney
3. J.C. Hassenauer
4. Patrick Morris

Combined:

1. David DeCastro
2. Maurkice Pouncey
3. Alejandro Villenueva
4. Ramon Foster
5. Matt Feiler
6. B.J. Finney
7. Fred Johnson
8. Zach Banner
9. Chuks Okorafor
10. Patrick Morris
11. Derwin Gray
12. J.C. Hassenauer
13. Jerald Hawkins
14. Damian Prince,
15. Garrett Brumfield

...

Feel free to share your thoughts on who looked good in preseason game 1, and to tell me where I’m horribly wrong.