Grading the Pittsburgh Steelers projected starting offense in 2021

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth Mandatory Credit: Karl Roster/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports /

Tight end

TE1 Eric Ebron: B

The only thing keeping Ebron from being a perennial Pro Bowl candidate is his hands. 7 drops for a 7.7% drop rate last season. A large portion of Ebron’s drops are concentration lapses. When he looks the ball into his hands they look soft. A coach should keep reminding him until he rids himself of this mental error. As a blocker, Ebron puts in good effort but is only average.

TE2 Pat Freiermuth: C+

The Steelers 2nd Rd Pick. I wasn’t wowed by Freiermuth’s film but the potential is definitely there. He has all the tools to develop into a prototypical Steelers inline TE, who can both block and contribute in the receiving game. Right now, his receiving is ahead of his blocking. Will probably take a couple of seasons to develop but should be a solid TE2 in his rookie season.

Special Teams

PK Chris Boswell: B

Boswell had a very bad 2018 season but that seems to have been due to injury. 95% on field goals but only 89.5% on extra points in 2020. Still, Boswell is one of the better kickers in the NFL.

Kick Returner Ray-Ray McCloud: C+

McCloud has provided stability to the return game that’s been lacking for years. As a kick returner, he was 9th ranked in the NFL in yardage having 28 returns for 646 at 23.1 yards per. A big improvement over the fair catch king, Ryan Switzer but there’s room for improvement, here.

Punt Returner Ray-Ray McCloud: A

As a punt returner, McCloud really shined. 29 returns for 298 yards for a 4th ranked in the NFL 10.3 yards a return. Including his 77 yards receiving and 65 rushing, Ray-Ray produced 1,088 yards, last year. There’s every reason to think Matt Canada will take advantage of McCloud’s breakaway potential, so those numbers should only go up.

5 college passers the Steelers should keep tabs on in 2021. light. Trending

Although there are continual claims of the Steelers downfall from the ESPN and the NFL Network, the team is in pretty good shape. They gave a youth and talent infusion to the offense in the first three rounds. They really should try to add a good OT (Rick Wagner, Dennis Kelly, or maybe even Bitcoin billionaire, Russell Okung. Chaz Green isn’t going to cut it) before the season starts, and that will probably become plain to them by the second preseason game. Other than the tackle problem and Diontae Johnson’s hands the Steelers will be fielding a good offensive unit that could become great if a couple of things break their way.

Overall Offense Grade: B