Former Baltimore Ravens head coach, and current Fox Sports analyst, Brian Billick released his 2013 post draft NFL power rankings on Tuesday and he ranked the Pittsburgh Steelers, 19th overall and third of the four AFC North teams.
Here is what Billick wrote about the Steelers:
Just like the Ravens, the Steelers have had their roster depleted with cap casualties and free agency departures, but unlike the Ravens, the Steelers have done little to fill the voids and plan for the future. It could be a long year in Pittsburgh.
While every man is entitled to his own opinion, Billick\’s reasoning for ranking the Steelers 19th overall is pretty weak. Evidently he forgot how the Steelers organization operates since being fired from the Ravens following the 2007 season.
Billick points to the Steelers roster being depleted by cap casualties as one of the reasons why he ranked them so low, but in reality they only had two cap casualties in linebacker James Harrison, who is clearly on the backside of his career at 35 years of age, and guard Willie Colon, who managed to play in just 12 regular season games over the course of the last three seasons due to injuries.
Sure, the Steelers lost wide receiver Mike Wallace, running back Rashard Mendenhall, cornerback Keenan Lewis, safety Will Allen and safety Ryan Mundy this offseason via free agency, but they also addressed all three of those positions in the draft like they always do as opposed to going the free agent signing route. A few of those free agent losses should produce future compensatory picks as well.
The few players that the Steelers did sign via free agency such as quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, cornerback William Gay, tight end Matt Spaeth and running back LaRod Stephens-Howling, was done to address the few holes on the roster that needed to be filled. Does Billick not consider that filling of voids?
As far as planning for the future goes, the Steelers signed guard Ramon Foster, linebacker Larry Foote and nose tackle Steve McLendon, all free agents this offseason, to three-year contracts. In addition, they also matched the offer sheet given to free agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders by the New England Patriots and a contract extension for him later on in the offseason is not yet totally out of the question.
Also, isn\’t the draft part of planning for the future?
Did the Steelers have turnover on their roster this offseason? Sure, and so did the Ravens as Billick smartly points out. In fact, the Ravens lost nine players this offseason via free agency or retirement that started for them in Super Bowl XLVII. Nine out of 22.
Had Billick instead come right out and said that he thinks the Steelers should be ranked that low because of lack of talent on their starting roster, that would be one thing, but he didn\’t. Instead, he pointed to cap casualties and the Steelers lack of spending money on high priced free agents players this offseason as his reason as to why he ranked them so low.
Perhaps Billick forgot what the Steelers did following the 2004 season. That offseason, if you remember, was quite similar to this offseason and the results of that offseason culminated in the Steelers capturing their fifth Lombardi Trophy.
Like I have stated many times in the past, I despise power rankings and I despise them even more when not a lot of thought are put into them, much like Billick failed to put into his.