Steelers have somehow dropped in NFL power rankings since the draft

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) and receiver Calvin Austin II (19). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) and receiver Calvin Austin II (19). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

I thought the Steelers improved their roster following the NFL Draft, but here’s why ESPN has them slipping in their lastest NFL power rankings.

After a few disappointing offseasons without much spending money, I was pleasantly surprised with what Kevin Colbert and his crew were able to pull off this year. While they didn’t break the bank on a single free agent move, they were able to land players like James Daniels, Levi Wallace, and Myles Jack while retaining some of their own.

On paper, the additions coming into the facility grossly outweigh the departures for the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason. After a quality free agency, I thought Colbert followed it up with a strong draft in which he found some excellent value in three of his first four picks.

According to the consensus NFL big board (comprised of the average ranking of the top-10 draft experts), Kenny Pickett was a slight reach, but George Pickens, DeMarvin Leal, and Calvin Austin were all deemed excellent value picks.

Oddly enough, ESPN apparently doesn’t agree. In their most recent NFL power rankings following the 2022 NFL Draft, their panel of experts actually had Pittsburgh slipping from 20th to 21 in the rankings.

ESPN’s Brooke Pryor didn’t really expand on the reasoning behind why the panel elected to drop the Steelers in their most updated power rankings; rather, they simply talked about the player who benefited the most (OT Chukwuma Okorafor). Personally, I have a hard time understanding how their ranking got worse since the draft.

Steelers power ranking should be higher

I don’t necessarily have an objective for the Steelers being listed as the 21st-ranked team in the NFL. However, it’s the reasoning behind how the panel came to this conclusion.

Leapfrogging Pittsburgh in the NFL power rankings was the New Orleans Saints. This is somewhat justifiable as they did add two quality first-round picks in Trevor Penning and Chris Olave this past April.

However, I’m not sure if I would agree with each of the teams listed ahead of the Steelers like the Dolphins, Cardinals, and Browns. All three of these teams were without their first-round pick this year and were short on draft capital.

Just below the Steelers in the NFL power rankings are the Commanders, Vikings, Bears, and Giants. This isn’t exactly the company they would like to be associated with, but it’s possible that this is where they could fall in 2022.

What’s most interesting, however, is that their power ranking actually decreased after a great draft haul on paper that included a potential franchise quarterback, two talented wide receivers, and a defensive lineman that was once considered to be in contention to be a top-10 pick. Furthermore, all four are in situations in which they could potentially step in and help improve this team right away.

Trending. Steelers game-by-game predictions for upcoming season. light

NFL power rankings are never an exact science, but it’s interesting to see that ESPN has them slipping since the 2022 NFL Draft. I’m curious as to how they will rank this team as we move closer to the NFL season.