It is that time of year again. The Super Bowl is now behind us, and the lengthy NFL offseason is officially upon us. How do we all kill the time? We take in as much content as we can, and with the new league year not starting until March, the month of February might as well be called “List Month” considering many outlets start providing their best player lists from the previous year.
The folks at Pro Football Focus have started their Top 101 players of 2019 list, and while the complete list has not been released yet, the Pittsburgh Steelers have been well represented thus far.
When I saw some of the Steelers who made the list, and their rankings, I was surprised. To be honest, with some I was downright shocked, but I had to remind myself how difficult it has to be to rank all players and positions in just 101 spots. Not an easy task, but that doesn’t mean we can’t gripe about our favorite players deserving to be higher!
Check out who has made the list so far, and where they rank:
94. S MINKAH FITZPATRICK, PITTSBURGH STEELERS
If we were looking only at the Minkah Fitzpatrick who played in Pittsburgh, he would likely be higher on this list, but PFF grades every play of the season, and Miami Minkah was a thing that happened, albeit just for a couple of weeks. In Pittsburgh, Fitzpatrick showed that he could be a far bigger playmaker than the Dolphins ever coaxed from him, and he made several game-changing plays for them in his new home. Inconsistency remained his biggest issue, but there is no doubting the big-time playmaking ability he has.
86. CB STEVEN NELSON, PITTSBURGH STEELERS
One of the more underrated players in all of football, Steven Nelson had an excellent season for the Pittsburgh Steelers after being “just another member” of a Chiefs defense that was disappointing in 2018. Nelson allowed just 51.5% of passes thrown his way this season to be caught and allowed only one touchdown across the 66 passes thrown into his coverage. Nelson’s run defense was also solid, and he demonstrated that, while on a better unit, he was capable of much better play than he was being given credit for while playing in Kansas City.
68. DI JAVON HARGRAVE, PITTSBURGH STEELERS
An injury to Stephon Tuitt opened the door for nose tackle Javon Hargrave to prove he could be more than just a run-stuffing body on the defensive line in a contract year, and he did exactly that over the season. Hargrave played 225 snaps more than his previous career-high, and he responded by notching more total pressures (49) than his previous two seasons combined (41). He maintained his impressive work against the run but showed that he can be a legitimate force as a pass-rusher and more than just a rotational body, earning the best overall PFF grade of his career in the process (83.4).
The fact PFF had Minkah Fitzpatrick ranked 94th almost immediately makes their entire list invalid, but it is their list, not mine. I’m sure other Steelers, like Cameron Heyward, David DeCastro and T.J. Watt will be coming up on the list soon, but what do you think of their selections/rankings so far?
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold throughout the offseason.