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Pittsburgh Steelers “core” ranked in the bottom half of the NFL

When ranking the league’s best “cores” among NFL teams, the Steelers come up short.

NFL: NOV 20 Bengals at Steelers Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NFL offseason is coming to a grinding halt as teams are wrapping up their offseason workouts and preparing for training camps in July. With that lull comes a more global outlook on teams and how they may rank among their peers.

This is also known by many as Ranking Season.

When national media outlets take to their keyboards and rank everything from rookies to position groups. In the latest ESPN ranking, they took a look at the “core” of each NFL team and where they rank.

Before going any further, let’s first see how ESPN defined a “core”:

A core was defined as the five most important players to a team — the guys each roster is built around. The ranking is for 2023, but there was a consideration of age in deciding which players made each team’s core. For some teams, there were too many good candidates to choose from, while even getting to five was tough for others.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at where the Pittsburgh Steelers ranked among all 32 NFL teams, as it pertains to the “core”.

1. Kansas City Chiefs
2. Cincinnati Bengals
3. Philadelphia Eagles
4. Miami Dolphins
5. Buffalo Bills
6. Dallas Cowboys
7. Los Angeles Chargers
8. New York Jets
9. Baltimore Ravens
10. San Francisco 49ers
19. Pittsburgh Steelers

Roster core: QB Kenny Pickett, OLB T.J. Watt, S Minkah Fitzpatrick, DT Cameron Heyward, WR George Pickens

Average core age: 27.0

If Pickett hits, this group gets scary quick. While Heyward is 34 years old, Pickens is just getting going and combines with Diontae Johnson to make up a strong receiver duo for the young QB. And while injuries marred Watt’s 2022 season, he remains one of the league’s truly elite defenders.

19th overall is in the bottom half of the league, but it also begs the question of where the Steelers rank among the AFC North division. Well, they rank dead last.

AFC North

2. Cincinnati Bengals
9. Baltimore Ravens
11. Cleveland Browns
19. Pittsburgh Steelers

Some will see this and suggest this isn’t anything new. In a division with Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow and Deshaun Watson at quarterback, you can’t expect the team to be ranked very high. To compound this, when you are talking about an AFC which has the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers and Justin Herbert in it, the Steelers rather unproven offense is likely going to be spending the majority of their time looking up at these respective teams in the conference.

But what do you think of the rankings? Should the Steelers be ranked higher overall, and what about in the AFC North? 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 Steelers as they prepare for mandatory minicamp and the rest of the NFL offseason.