Were Steelers disrespected on Pete Prisco's 'Top 100 NFL Players of 2023' list?

Pittsburgh Steelers, Minkah Fitzpatrick
Pittsburgh Steelers, Minkah Fitzpatrick / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

This is the time of year when high-profile NFL analysts and networks create rankings and make their predictions for the upcoming season. As has been the case over the past few seasons, the Pittsburgh Steelers are flying under the radar.

Recently, Pete Prisco of CBS Sports comprised a list of the top 100 NFL players of 2023. The Steelers had just three representatives, and you can probably guess who they were.

The first Pittsburgh player who showed up on the list was T.J. Watt. He landed at the 11th overall spot. Three edge defenders (Nick Bosa, Myles Garrett, and Micah Parsons) were higher on the list. Watt's lower-than-usual ranking no doubt had to do with his stint on IR last season as he nursed his way back from a pectoral injury. Now he apparently needs to re-prove himself as one of the best defenders in the league.

After Watt, there was a sizeable gap between the next two Steelers on the list. Cameron Heyward made the cut as the 39th overall player, while All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick came in at 41st on the list. Minkah's ranking seems unreasonably low considering he led the league in interceptions and graded out as one of the best safeties in the league while earning his third First-Team All-Pro honors.

Where Steelers players disrespected in top 100 rankings?

If we are being rational, it's hard to argue that Pete Prisco got the players wrong here. We all can agree that Watt, Heyward, and Fitzpatrick are the three consensus best players on the roster at this point in time. While up-and-comers like George Pickens, Pat Freiermuth, or even Alex Highsmith will have a chance to add their names to the list in the future, it's hard to justify that they are top 100 players at this point in time.

Though the names might be right, we have a right to argue about their positioning on the list. Watt's drop in the overall ranking is reasonable considering his injuries, but we can also expect him to elevate his status if he can stay healthy this year.

On the other hand, having players like Jonathan Taylor and Derrick Henry ahead of the best safety in the league in Fitzpatrick seems like a bit of a reach. These two players are also slated ahead of Cameron Heyward.

Overall, it's hard to get too upset over an NFL analyst's opinion when it comes to player rankings. At least these three Pittsburgh Steelers made the list. The hope is that more could follow in the near future.