There are few position groups on the Pittsburgh Steelers roster which have undergone such turnover as the offensive line. Just take a look at the offensive line of 2020, compared to the projected offensive line of 2021:
LT: Alejandro Villanueva
LG: Matt Feiler
C: Maurkice Pouncey
RG: David DeCastro
RT: Chuks Okorafor
LT: Chuks Okorafor
LG: Kevin Dotson
C: Kendrick Green/B.J. Finney
RG: Trai Turner
RT: Zach Banner
To think the Steelers could have five players on the line who are either first time starters, starting with a new team or starting in a new position is incredible. And I don’t mean incredible in a good way.
The success of the offense will hinge on this offensive line’s ability to do their job to the best of their ability. After 2020, a season where the offensive line only allowed 14 sacks, best in the league, the strength of the 2021 line, if there is one, is in run blocking. With that said, it shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that when ESPN ranked all 32 NFL teams in terms of pass blocking, the Steelers weren’t good.
In fact, they were second-to-last in the league. See what they had to say about the Steelers’ pass blockers in 2021:
31. Pittsburgh Steelers
Projected PBWR: 53%
Projected offensive line: Chukwuma Okorafor (46th), Kevin Dotson (DNQ), Kendrick Green (rookie), Trai Turner (70th), Zach Banner (DNQ)
With four new starters and Okorafor projected to move to left tackle, it’s hard to imagine how this line is going to protect Ben Roethlisberger. Of the bottom five teams on this list, this is the only one without a first-rounder selected in either this year’s or last year’s draft.
Turner actually finished third in PBWR among guards in 2018, but he has put together two poor seasons since.
Not a glowing endorsement for the new offensive line under Adrian Klemm and Matt Canada. Nonetheless, the Steelers’ offensive line is an unknown. Everyone wants to bash them and say how bad they are, but we haven’t seen them play a snap of football yet. How can anyone suggest they would be this pad outside of projections?
They can’t, and that’s why fans should take these rankings with a gigantic grain of salt. You might be wondering who made the Top 10 for the ESPN rankings. Take a look:
ESPN’s Top 10 Offensive Lines (Pass Blocking)
1. Cleveland Browns
2. Green Bay Packers
3. Arizona Cardinals
4. Seattle Seahawks
5. Buffalo Bills
6. Kansas City Chiefs
7. Philadelphia Eagles
8. Los Angeles Rams
9. Indianapolis Colts
10. Houston Texans
So, what do you think about these rankings? Are they justified? Do you feel the Steelers should be 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 black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.