NFL expert believes Steelers roster is among the worst in the league
The Steelers made a lot of moves to improve their team this offseason, but here’s why one NFL expert believes their roster is among the worst in the league.
Most Steelers fans who have been following along with the team’s moves all offseason will try to convince you that Pittsburgh’s roster is much stronger on paper entering the 2022 season than it was a year ago. While the team lost an aging Ben Roethlisberger to retirement and JuJu Smith-Schuster to the Chiefs, most would agree that their additions grossly outweigh their losses.
This could prove to be the case. Last year, the Steelers weren’t a good team on either side of the ball. According to Team Rankings, Pittsburgh was the 23rd-ranked team in terms of total offense and their defense was remarkably even worse at 27th.
While it may be hard to top their 9-7-1 record from a season ago (as the Steelers squeaked out several close contests), it stands to reason that their offseason moves should help them improve from a statistical standpoint.
Sadly, not everyone agrees. Recently, ESPN’s Mike Clay used his personal grading scale to grade each positional group on every NFL team. Collectively, Clay determined that the Steelers have the 25th-best roster in the NFL and their overall grade is well below the league average:
Clay gave the Steelers roster the same total grade (1.5) as the New York Jets. Their roster was ranked slightly worse than the Jacksonville Jaguars. According to this scale, the Commanders, Cardinals, 49ers, and Colts are considered to have a league-average roster.
Should Steelers roster be ranked higher?
With just 6 teams grading out worse than Pittsburgh, Clay’s subjective grading scale probably isn’t going to sit well with Steelers fans. But it is accurate? If not, where should they be ranked?
Let’s start with the worst positions. Out of each positional group, Clay ranked gave the Steelers the lowest scores for the cornerback room (0.6) and their quarterbacks (0.5). When comparing this to each team across the league, it’s hard to argue with.
Pittsburgh hasn’t made any investments at cornerback — whether through the NFL Draft or free agency. At quarterback, while Kenny Pickett could prove to be the answer somewhere down the line, there probably will only be a few teams that have a worse signal-caller for the 2022 season than the Steelers will with Mitch Trubisky or Pickett — especially with how strong the QB position is around the NFL right now.
Pittsburgh’s best positional groups both came on the defensive side of the ball. Their defensive interior and edge defenders each earned a score of 3.4 — ranking them both 6th in their respective categories when compared to the league. This might be a little low — especially considering the added depth along the interior defensive line this offseason with players like Larry Ogunjobi and DeMarvin Leal, as well as the return of Tyson Alualu and Carlos Davis from injuries.
While I don’t believe that the Pittsburgh Steelers have an elite roster, by any stretch of the imagination, I do believe that they could be a few spots higher on this list. Personally, I would slot them just above the Patriots and right below the Raiders — giving them the 21st-best roster in the NFL on paper.
With some breakout performances by several young players on the team, the Steelers could prove that their roster is much higher than where Mike Clay currently has them slotted. They will need to be if they want a chance to compete in a crowded AFC in 2022.