Steelers shockingly fall in ESPN's power rankings after stellar 2024 draft

Despite earning the highest consensus draft grades in 2024, the Steelers fell in ESPN's latest power rankings.
Steelers, NFL Draft
Steelers, NFL Draft / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

By all accounts, the Pittsburgh Steelers crushed the 2024 NFL Draft. With seven total draft selections this year, they were able to snag talented players like OT Troy Fautanu, C Zach Frazier, WR Roman Wilson, LB Payton Wilson, and OG Mason McCormick.

Pittsburgh's value against the consensus board was better than any team in the NFL this year... but don't tell that to ESPN. Somehow, the Steelers dropped two spots in ESPN's post-draft power rankings.

In their post-free agency power rankings, the panel of more than 80 writers, editors, and TV personalities at ESPN pegged Pittsburgh as the 13th-best team in the league. Suddenly, they sit in the 15th spot in the NFL power rankings following the 2024 NFL Draft.

It's hard to make sense of the reasoning.

The two teams that leapfrogged the Steelers were the Los Angeles Rams and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Neither team had as brilliant of a draft class on paper, but they managed to climb ahead of Pittsburgh.

Steelers disrespected in post-draft NFL power rankings

Just below the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 16th spot in the power rankings is the Chicago Bears -- a team that finished 7-10 in the NFC last season. While Chicago loaded up on offensive talent with QB Caleb Williams and WR Rome Odunze, the Steelers still have the more talented team overall.

ESPN admitted that quarterback is the most improved position on the Steelers roster, but after peaking as the 13th-ranked team, the panel of experts felt that opposing teams deserved to jump ahead of them despite Omar Khan's efforts in the 2024 draft.

For what it's worth, the Steelers earned the highest average 2024 draft grade among 20 major NFL media outlets. They found value across the board while filling significant positions of need.

Of the group they drafted, at least four players are expected to play big roles right away. Fautanu is expected to step into a starting role at offensive tackle from Day 1. The same goes for Frazier at center. Meanwhile, Roman Wilson could be the team's primary slot receiver and second in line for targets in the passing game when the season opens, while LB Payton Wilson was considered by many to be the steal of the draft.

ESPN's panel of experts should have thought this one through. Even with respectable drafts from opponents in their same talent tier, it makes zero sense to drop the Pittsburgh Steelers in the post-draft NFL power rankings after the impressive haul they just raked in.