The Pittsburgh Steelers may be at the end of a Super Bowl window, but here’s why their roster is in worse shape than fans might think.
Steelers fans sometimes find it difficult to look beyond the here and now – and I totally get this. Pittsburgh has a chance to be a contender again in 2021 with Ben Roethlisberger returning and some new weapons on offense.
However, the future for this team looks undeniably murky. Though we do have some All-Pro players to build around like T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick, the offensive line is in shambles and a few other key names (like Cameron Heyward and Joe Haden) are nearing the end of their careers.
What’s most concerning is the quarterback position, as Big Ben’s career will soon be coming to a close and the Steelers will go through the quarterback search that we have been dreading for so long.
Recently, Dalton Miller of Pro Football Network comprised his NFL power rankings. He had the Steelers ranked just 25th in his bottom tier titled “Flawed or rebuilding rosters.” Here’s what Miller had to say about the state of Pittsburgh’s franchise:
25) Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers are projected to win nine games in 2021, but we at PFN can’t seem to figure out why. Their offensive line has disintegrated. They lost Mike Hilton and Steven Nelson in the secondary and just decided that replacing them was overrated. Their defensive line is still outstanding. But at some point, the heavy workload for Ben Roethlisberger will take its toll. Even with a solid offensive line, he got the ball out of his hands faster than anybody in the league. With no long-term answer at quarterback in-house, it might be time to do what it takes to secure one in 2022.
Miller is clearly low on this team – not only when it comes to their hope for the future, but what they will be in 2021. He thinks the Steelers will win less than nine games (which with a 17-game schedule would give them a losing record for the first time since 2003). While this team could very well be in decline, should they be ranked this low?
Is Steelers power ranking fair?
Unsurprisingly, the Houston Texans and Detriot Lions were the two lowest-ranked teams by Miller. Next in line were the Jaguars, Eagles, Jets, Panthers, and Falcons. While it’s pretty safe to assume that the Steelers will be better than almost all of these teams in 2021, their future isn’t guaranteed to be as bright.
The Jaguars and Jets may have already found their next franchise quarterbacks in Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, respectively, and there’s no guarantee Pittsburgh will be able to land a passer as talented as either in future drafts – even with a trade-up.
Ranked ahead of the Steelers on this list (but still in the bottom tier of teams) are the Raiders, Bears, Bengals, Giants, and Broncos. So where should the Steelers fall in the power rankings?
If this is simply a look at where Pittsburgh will wind up in 2021, there’s a chance they could be above all the aforementioned teams. However, Miller clearly factored in the state of each franchise moving forward. Because of that, the Steelers ranking might be fair. They will soon be in search of their next franchise quarterback, and until they find one, we can’t assume that they are going to continue to have great success.
Again, this is just an opinion, and power rankings can change drastically in just one year’s time. Still, for a team that hasn’t had a losing record in 17 years, the Pittsburgh Steelers are overdue for a rebuild.