The Steelers have a roster full of young talent after a youthful renovation and it’s paying off. Two Steelers making NFL.com’s All Under 25 Team is proof of that.
The All Under 25 Team has been published by NFL.com and Elliot Harrison for several years now. The rules are simple. It’s list of the best players under the age of 25. As long as they’re 24 or under when week 1 kicks off they’re eligible.
Of those eligible, two Steelers made the team. Defensive end Stephon Tuitt and running back Le’Veon Bell were those who made the team. But let’s look at the big picture before we nit pick. In context, this result is encouraging.
Only one other team had more players make the list than the Steelers and that was the Chiefs with 3. The only other teams with multiple people on the list were the Vikings, the Packers, and the Rams. When it comes to division rivals the Ravens and Browns had one player each, linebacker CJ Mosely and guard Joel Bitonio. Cincinnati had none.
Let’s talk about who made the cut…
Who Made the Cut?
RB Le’Veon Bell – Of course. Not only is Bell the best player at his position, regardless of age, but he plays the position like no one else. His ability to line up at WR, to block, to run the ball, he’s the complete package.
NFL .com said of him, “Bell is quite simply the best running back in pro football, whether he’s under 25 or not — in fact, Bell doesn’t turn 25 until February 2017, which is extraordinary, considering what a polished player he already is. The production aside, the fact that he hasn’t lost a fumble since 2013 points to what a complete player he is at such a young age. The issue now? Staying healthy.”
DE Stephon Tuitt – Tuitt really showed what he can do despite his young age when given the full time starting job. And when I say full time, I mean he’s always on the field. Tuitt and Cam Heyward have become one of the best defensive end groups in the NFL.
NFL.com said of him, “The Steelers’ defense sure fared better than most fans — yes, even Steelers fans — expected last season. Tuitt was a big reason (literally) why … the 6-6, 303-pound lineman cranked out 6.5 sacks and a whole bunch of hurries in a defense that relies on its OLBs for pocket pressure. Tuitt is certainly a building block in Pittsburgh.”
More from Steelers News
- Mel Kiper Jr. makes predictable pick for Steelers in first NFL mock draft
- Steelers news: Brian Flores odds to land HC job, no projected compensatory picks, and more
- Why Jordan Addison to the Steelers is a good idea
- 4 reasons Steelers would have been embarrassed in the NFL playoffs
- The easiest cut the Pittsburgh Steelers will make in 2023
Who Got Robbed?
FB Roosevelt Nix – This is the only unambiguous robbed there was. Sure, there are other young Steelers who do well, and we’ll talk about them later, but others at their position were found to be better. Nix was robbed because his position isn’t even evaluated.
This is made even more strange by the fact that there are 12 defensive players listed in order to accommodate 3-4 and 4-3 players and yet only 11 offensive players, no fullbacks. The position is not used for running as much as it used to be and perhaps doesn’t get the respect it deserves, but it still exists. And one could make the argument that if you’re listing punters then fullback should be on the list.
Bleacher Report’s NFL 1000 listed Roosevelt Nix as the 7th best fullback in the league. He’s the youngest player on that list and all the players ranked above him are 25 or over. Nix is quick, strong, has great spatial awareness, and hits like a truck. He is the best player at his position under 25. He should be on the list.
Maybe Next Year
The following group excludes players we’ve never seen take the field, so no rookies or young players like Golson who haven’t seen the field. If there’s nothing to evaluate then we’re just talking about wishful thinking. So which players can we assume their trajectory is taking them to this list?
ILB Ryan Shazier – If this was based on the playoffs, or the first 1/3 of the season, then Shazier would be on this list. The only thing holding him back is consistency. Some of this is in his hands. He does need to play more consistently. But most of this is due to injury. If Shazier can stay healthy and play to his ability for 16 games we might be talking about a different list next year, one that includes a ticket to Hawaii.
OLB Bud Dupree – Dupree certainly showed some things last season but I think we’d all agree that it wasn’t enough to be on this list. It was enough however to show he’s a real athlete and a legitimate NFL player. It was also enough to know despite that talent and toughness he is very raw. But with his skill set and seemingly solid attitude we can expect him to take a big step with the experience he’s gained.
So that’s the list. Is there anyone I’m forgetting? Maybe Jesse James is going to use that height to be a red zone menace? What players haven’t we seen that could make the list? Sean Davis? Feel free to let us know in the comments.