Stephon Tuitt labeled Pittsburgh Steelers most underrated player

Stephon Tuitt Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Stephon Tuitt Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Sports Illustrated recently wrote an article on the most underrated player for each NFL team. Here’s why they chose Stephon Tuitt was the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Every offseason at this time, major media outlets talk about the most underrated players in the league. While the stars often hog the spotlight, there are plenty of players who deserve recognition. For the Pittsburgh Steelers, players like Steven Nelson, Matt Feiler, and James Washington are often names who don’t get enough credit.

However, defensive lineman, Stephon Tuitt, takes the cake here. Before his season-ending injury in 2019, I wrote that Tuitt was on pace with Cameron Heyward through the first five weeks of the season, as he was playing at a phenomenal level.  In my rankings of the five most underappreciated players on the Steelers, Tuitt finishes at the top of the list.

But I’m not the only one who shares this mentality. Recently Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr wrote an article labeling every AFC team’s most underrated players. Stephon Tuitt was his choice for the Steelers.

To the surprise of some, the Steelers give up more rushing yards when Stephon Tuitt is off the field than when two-time All-Pro Cameron Heyward is absent from the lineup. This is something that isn’t that hard to believe if you go back and evaluate the tape.

But apart from being one of the best run-defending defensive linemen in the NFL, Tuitt has emerged as a dominant pass rusher when over the past two years. Over his last 14 healthy games stretching back into the 2018 season, Tuitt has compiled 9.0 sacks, 13 tackles for a loss, and 22 quarterback hits.

In addition, Tuitt graded out as the 6th best interior defender in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus, with an overall grade of 89.1. His 85.0 pass-rush grade was better than players like Cameron Heyward, Calais Campbell, and DeForest Buckner.

The biggest problem with Tuitt isn’t anything he’s been doing wrong on the field – it’s his inability to stay healthy. Tuitt has dealt with numerous injuries ranging from elbow hyperextension to a pectoral tear. As a result, he hasn’t played a 16-game season since his rookie year back in 2014.

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Tuitt turned just 27 years old this offseason and still has a bright future ahead of him. After all, Heyward never made a Pro Bowl or earned more than 7.0 sacks in a season until the age of 28 in 2017. Though Tuitt has yet to put together a full season of great play, it’s not hard to see why he was labeled the Pittsburgh Steelers’ most underrated player.