3 Steelers land on PFN's Top 100 list for 2023 (but their rankings are surprising)

  • T.J. Watt manages to crack the top-10 despite injuries in 2022
  • Which other Steelers deserved to make the list in 2023?

Steelers, T.J. Watt
Steelers, T.J. Watt / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

As we get set to enter a busy training camp season, NFL player rankings have been flooding the news cycle. Pro Football Focus recently released their Top 50 list for 2023 and everyone is anxious to see which Pittsburgh Steelers players land on the NFL Network's Top 100 list later this summer.

Recently, Pro Football Network released its version of the NFL's Top 100. PFN ranked what they believe to be the best players 100 players in the NFL ahead of the 2023 season. Three Steelers made the cut.. and you can probably guess who they were.

The Steelers have three players on defense who have earned multiple first-team All-Pro honors over their careers: T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward, and Minkah Fitzpatrick. All three players made the Pro Football Network's Top 100.

However, their rankings might not have been predictable. Starting in backward order, the first Steelers player to show up on the list was Minkah Fitzpatrick at 59th overall. This ranking placed him just ahead of Derrick Henry and one spot behind Commanders DT Jonathan Allen. Minkah was arguably the best safety in the NFL during 2022 as he tied for the league lead in interceptions. However, Derwin James came in significantly higher at 34th overall on the list.

Cameron Heyward was the next Steelers player to show up at 38th overall. While he's getting up there in age, PFN pointed to his unrivaled consistency as the reason for his positioning on this prestigious list. Heyward was wedged between two impressive defenders in EDGE Max Crosby and CB Jaire Alexander.

To no surprise, T.J. Watt was the top Steelers player on this list of 100. Surprisingly, Watt still ranked inside the top 10 in the NFL despite missing nearly half of his 2022 season with a pectoral injury. Watt's 10th overall spot on this list interestingly puts him ahead of players like Joe Burrow, Nick Bosa, and Josh Allen. However, two edge defenders -- Micah Parsons and Myles Garrett -- still ranked higher.

Did other Steelers deserve to crack PFN's top 100?

The short answer is no. While I do think that the Pittsburgh Steelers have a few players on the fringe of consideration, they are going to have to prove a lot in 2023 if they want a chance to show up on the list next summer.

The closest to doing so have to be EDGE Alex Highsmith and TE Pat Freiermuth. While Pat has missed time with concussions, both players have been steady, reliable, and productive. It's also possible that a talented player like George Pickens skyrockets into the top-100 conversation if he has a huge performance in 2023.

At the end of the day, these top 100 rankings can best be served as fuel for those who didn't make the cut and those who believe they should be higher in the rankings. It's not surprising to see 'The Big Three' make the cut. Let's hope more Pittsburgh Steelers players can be added to this list in the near future.