3 Steelers blatantly snubbed from PFF's top 25 players under 25 list

These three Steelers deserved to be recognized on Pro Football Focus' prestigious list.
New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers
New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

We've reached the point in the NFL offseason when media outlets are comprising future lists and rankings. One popular article that has been released over the years is Pro Football Focus' rankings of the top 25 players under the age of 25. This year, no Pittsburgh Steelers player received so much as an honorable mention.

There are hundreds of talented players under the age of 25 in the NFL, so narrowing this list down is no easy task. PFF's Zoltan Buday took on this project and comprised his rankings, but no Steelers player made the cut.

In order to quality, a player must be under 25 years old by the start of the 2024 regular season. This excludes new Steelers linebacker, Patrick Queen. The former Ravens Pro Bowler turns 25 years old in August just before the season.

However, there is a trio of Steelers who deserve to land in the rankings. Here are three Steelers who were snubbed from Pro Football Focus' top 25 players under 25 list.

1. George Pickens, WR

You'd be hard-pressed to find many receivers who have the raw talent to earn 1,140 yards and 5 touchdowns at 22 years old. It's even more impressive when you consider that this came on just 106 targets at the hands of quarterbacks Kenny Pickett, Mitch Tribisky, and Mason Rudolph.

In Year 2 in 2023, Pickens averaged an astonishing 10.8 yards per target and 18.1 yards per reception. Remarkably, this wasn't enough to vault the former second-round pick onto PFF's list of the top 25 NFL players under age 25.

Pickens, who turned 23 years old in March, still has time to prove doubters wrong. This should be added fuel to the fire for a player who believed he should have made the Pro Bowl last season.

2. Joey Porter Jr., CB

Joey Porter Jr. still has a lot of room to grow. He was too grabby during his rookie season, and this led to 12 total penalties (4 of which were declined). Regardless, the talent and physical tools are undeniable, and he already deserved to land on this list after just 11 starts in the NFL.

At 6'2 1/2'' and 193 pounds with 34'' arms, Porter has an unmatched frame and lives to jam wide receivers at the line of scrimmage. His massive wingspan and tight man-to-man coverage allow him to hip and mirror every type of wide receiver.

According to advanced stats from Pro Football Reference, Porter allowed just 30 of 63 receptions allowed in coverage for 449 yards (7.1 yards per target) while giving up just a 70.1 passer rating. This wasn't enough to help him crack the list of the NFL's top 25 players under 25.

3. Keeanu Benton, DT

It's a bit harder to make the case for a former draft pick who isn't yet a full-time player. Keeanu Benton started just 9 of 17 games as a rookie in 2023 and recorded 1 sack. However, this is the definition of box score checking and ignoring what the tape has to say.

Benton was extremely disruptive for the Pittsburgh Steelers in his first season. Thanks to his length, strength, and explosiveness off the snap, Benton was consistently sending the opposing quarterback into panic mode. This resulted in an 82.6 pass-rush grade in 2023 from PFF.

Benton ended up grading out as the 20th-best defensive lineman in the NFL last year. By PFF's own standard, this should have warranted consideration on the list. He ultimately fell short as Eagles' DT Jalen Carter was the only interior defender to crack the list of the top 25 players under age 25.