The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team on the rise, by most accounts, but are still improving in almost every aspect of the team. With their roster still under construction, you have to wonder where they rank among their NFL peers.
A recent ESPN article attempted to do just that, and ranked all 32 NFL teams based on their overall roster. Here is a breakdown of the goal with these rankings:
We asked ESPN football analysts Mike Clay and Seth Walder to rank NFL rosters from 1 to 32, then combined rankings to come up with our list of the league’s best — and worst. We asked them to rate each roster based on the talent, age and production of the players, not taking into account how some coaching staffs can squeeze the best out of their talent. Clay’s rankings are powered by his 2023 projections, which include detailed stats and score predictions for every team.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about the Top 10, and where the Steelers rank...which is outside the Top 10:
14. Pittsburgh Steelers
Strongest unit: Edge rusher. T.J. Watt missed a chunk of last season, but the 28-year-old remained an impact player when healthy (22.1% pass rush win rate) and led the NFL with 70.5 sacks over the last five seasons. Running mate Alex Highsmith finished sixth in the league with 14.5 sacks last season. Underrated veteran Markus Golden (who has three 10-plus sack seasons) and youngsters DeMarvin Leal and Nick Herbig provide solid depth. — Clay
Weakest unit: Off-ball linebacker. The Steelers made a full-on line change at inside linebacker during free agency, replacing Myles Jack, Devin Bush and Robert Spillane with Cole Holcomb, Elandon Roberts and Tanner Muse. Holcomb has been solid as an every-down player in Washington the last two seasons, but Roberts and Muse have primarily been rotational players. — Clay
X factor for 2023: WR George Pickens. His 99 Catch Score fueled a successful rookie year and gave Pickens elite upside if he can develop as a route runner and get open more frequently. He posted a below-average 48 Open Score last season, according to ESPN Analytics and NFL Next Gen Stats. — Walder
Non-starter to know: OLB Nick Herbig. At Wisconsin last season, Herbig had 11 sacks along with strong pressure rates. That production gave him the 10th-highest sack projection in the entire 2023 draft class, according to my model, despite being a fourth-round pick. — Walder
14th isn’t a bad spot for the Steelers, but another question which is often asked is where they rank among the teams who call the AFC North home. Take a look at the rankings for the AFC North:
5. Cincinnati Bengals
9. Cleveland Browns
11. Baltimore Ravens
14. Pittsburgh Steelers
What do you think of these rankings? Are the Steelers ranked too high? Not high enough? 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 the rest of the 2023 NFL offseason.