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ESPN ranks the Steelers’ 2020 draft class 8th best in the NFL

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 NFL Draft class was impressive, but barely cracked the Top 10 in a recent ESPN ranking.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 NFL Draft class was not a large group, from a quantity stand point. Their six draft picks was the second lowest in the modern era, only behind the five the team had in 2003 when they traded up with Kansas City to select Troy Polamalu.

However, the Steelers’ six draft picks has already made history with all of the players drafted not just making the team, but playing in regular season action throughout the regular season.

As a fan of the Steelers, and someone who visits sites like this one regularly, you can find yourself in an echo chamber of the same team’s needs, wants and rankings. However, it is worth looking into where the Steelers’ 2020 draft class ranks compared to other teams in the league.

ESPN recently ranked all 2020 draft classes across the league, and the Steelers’ group ranked 8th. Take a look at the Top 10, and what they said about the Steelers being ranked where they were:

1. Cincinnati Bengals
2. Indianapolis Colts
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
4. Kansas City Chiefs
5. Washington Football Team
6. Los Angeles Chargers
7. Minnesota Vikings
8. Pittsburgh Steelers

Why they’re ranked here: Despite not having a first-round pick, Pittsburgh still managed to rank in the top 10 in cumulative WAR generated by their rookie class this year. Their first pick, wide receiver Chase Claypool, was actually the seventh most valuable non-first-round rookie in the NFL this season, per PFF WAR.

How their top pick fared: Claypool was a big-play threat for Pittsburgh right out of the gate. He actually saw more deep targets than anyone in the NFL, including plays nullified by penalty. He may have ranked only 11th in total deep receiving yards (347), but Claypool drew two more defensive pass interference calls on deep targets than anyone in the league (seven). The latter is the second most we have recorded in the past decade.

Best value pick: Alex Highsmith (No. 102 overall) was hot and cold this season but managed to finish the regular season with a 72.0 PFF grade. That mark is over 11 grading points higher than Bud Dupree’s mark in 2020 before his torn ACL. It’s also nearly 30 grading points better than what we saw from Dupree as a rookie in 2015.

9. Buffalo Bills
10. San Francisco 49ers

After looking at the list, and what ESPN had to say about the Steelers’ rookies, do you agree with the ranking? Or do you think the Steelers should be ranked higher? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the new league year, NFL Free Agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.