During this time of the offseason there isn\’t much meaningful news to discuss, unless you are a fan of the New England Patriots, so instead we will discuss the meaningless stuff such as the NFL Future Power Rankings that were posted Wednesday on ESPN.com.
So what do Steelers fans have to look forward to in 2016? According to the ESPN “experts,” the Steelers rank 14th overall in their future rankings with a score of 65.71.
If you want to look at the methodology used by Herm Edwards, Mel Kiper, Mike Sando, Gary Horton, Matt Williamson and Field Yates for these, you can read about it here and watch the video below.
According to the Steelers individual category rankings, they score fine in the coaching (7.8) and front office (8.0) areas, but only slightly above average in the roster (5.5) and the quarterback (5.7) departments. Their draft score comes in at (6.8).
As far as what the Steelers roster will look like in 2016, it is no secret that current starters safety Troy Polamalu, safety Ryan Clark, defensive end Brett Keisel, cornerback Ike Taylor, linebacker Larry Foote and guard Ramon Foster will all be gone by then. As far as current veteran starters go that could possibly still be on the roster come 2016, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be 34, tight end Heath Miller will be 33, LaMarr Woodley will be 31 and Lawrence Timmons will be 30. Assuming the other four remaining offensive linemen are still on the team in 2016, Marcus Gilbert will be the oldest of the bunch at 28.
The Steelers are well on their way to getting younger; however, as linebacker James Harrison was released this past offseason and nose tackle Casey Hampton wasn\’t re-signed. As far as their safety depth goes, we assume that both Shamarko Thomas and Robert Golden will both be patrolling the deep part of the field by then with Cortez Allen manning one of the two cornerback spots. Replacements at the inside linebacker positions should be groomed by then as should at least one of the two defensive end positions.
Being as the Steelers are never really involved in free agency, the biggest question mark surrounding the 2016 version of the Steelers centers mostly around the drafts from 2013 and forward, but you can really say that about every team for that matter. Being as the offensive line and skill positions should still be in pretty good shape by then, assuming of course that wide receiver Markus Wheaton and running back LeVeon Bell pan out, the only remaining issue is the status of Roethlisberger, who more than likely will be extended next offseason.
When you look at each teams\’ individual category scores, you can clearly see that the “experts” don\’t think that Roethlisberger will be able to do what he does right now come 2016.
Based on the Steelers history alone, a 14th overall ranking seems to be a little low, in my opinion. Now, I\’m not saying that they should be top five mind you, but when you consider that the Patriots are ranked fifth overall with quarterback Tom Brady going to be 39 years of age come the start of that season; the Steelers deserve a little more leeway with Roethlisberger. The Denver Broncos even have a quarterback score (6.5) higher than that of the Steelers and quarterback Peyton Manning will be 40 years of age in 2016.
So where do the other three teams in the AFC North rank? The Baltimore Ravens (82.42) are ranked 4th, the Cincinnati Bengals (66.25) are ranked just above the Steelers at 13th, and the Cleveland Browns (50.96) are ranked 27th overall.
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, these rankings are meaningless and only serve as a topic of discussion during the lowest part of the offseason, but with that being reemphasized, are the Steelers fairly ranked in your opinion? If not, where would you rank them and why?
The Kansas City Chiefs ranked ahead of the Steelers? Really? One of you make a note to remind me about these rankings in three years.
|1||San Francisco 49ers|
|2||Green Bay Packers|
|5||New England Patriots|
|7||New York Giants|
|8T||St. Louis Rams|
|10||New Orleans Saints|
|12||Kansas City Chiefs|
|18||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|25||San Diego Chargers|
|32||New York Jets|