3 most underrated and 2 most overrated Steelers in 2020

Alex Highsmith #56 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Alex Highsmith #56 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Tyson Alualu (94). Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

It may be surprising the I am not picking “do-it Tuitt” for this spot.

Yet, since Stephon Tuitt has been given a nickname by Steelers fans, I would say he is not as underrated as Tyson Alualu. The Steelers’ ability to defend the run relies as much on Alualu as it does on anyone else on that defense. All of our worst games defending the run were when Alualu wasn’t healthy or playing.

Alualu is the #2 graded interior defender by PFF. Up until his injury, Alualu had been going back and forth with Aaron Donald for the #1 spot. The catalyst behind this battle for the top spot was his impeccable play against the run. Up until Week 9, Alualu had been the highest graded run-defender in the NFL across every position. The fact he could be graded so closely to Aaron Donald, who has been seen as debatably the best player in the NFL, regardless of position, the past few years is rather remarkable for a 33-year-old defensive lineman who just switched to the defensive tackle spot, at a full-time capacity in a true 3-4 defense, for the first time in his NFL career.

His ability to wreak havoc in the middle of an offensive line is what the Steelers had been missing for their run defense the past few seasons. If Pittsburgh knew they could’ve gotten this level of production out of him from the inside, they would have placed him there sooner. Coming into 2020 I had been questioning whether a 33-year-old could switch positions like that and be able to replace Javon Hargrave on the inside. Yet, he not only exceeded my expectations, he became the centerpiece to the best front 7 in all of football.

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I’m not saying that these are the best and worst players on the Steelers. More credit is due to the likes of Terrell Edmunds, Eric Ebron, and Tyson Alualu than what we have been giving them. While a lot of the mishaps the Steelers are dealing with can be blamed on some of the overrated players a bit more. That is not to say that this is the final version of this list. Football players’ performances aren’t always very linear. A couple of good or bad weeks could easily move the list around. With that being said, these are the most underrated and overrated players on the Steelers right now for 2020.