Steelers Projected 2014 Starters Ranked 27th Overall By PFF

Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus recently ranked the current starting lineups of all 32 NFL teams for an ESPN Insider piece and the Pittsburgh Steelers come in 27th overall on the list.

Monson writes:

Once held up as a shining example to the rest of the league for how to run a franchise, the Steelers have allowed their roster to be eroded talent-wise for several years now, and are clinging onto being in contention for playoff spots at the end of the season largely thanks to having a top-quality quarterback and little else.

The team simply has not drafted well, failing to replace key personnel when they needed to, and then persisting with struggling players long past the point they should have given up on them. Ike Taylor is still used as if he were a shutdown corner, shadowing an opponent’s best receiver despite surrendering six touchdowns in 2013 and a passer rating into his coverage of 110.6. The departure of Emmanuel Sanders in free agency means the team needs Markus Wheaton to step up, and for all the draft picks spent on the offensive line, it remains a unit that has yet to distinguish itself.

I understand where Monson is coming from, but 27th overall? He has the Cleveland Browns ranked 24th, just so you know.



  • falconsaftey43

    Ben and Brown are unquestionably elite. How is Miller not at least a good starter? Timmons is boarderline elite. He way underrated some of these players.

  • steelster

    I agree with him on the big ben statement. Without him this is only a 4 or 5 win team.

  • steelster

    Timmons should be high quality and maybe bell. I agree with the rest.

  • Dorkewicz

    How is Antonio Brown not elite?

    110 Receptions
    1,499 Receiving Yards
    8 Touchdowns

  • Jacob Dixon


  • steelster

    Depends how you define elite. Is he top 5 at his position. I would have to say no because of his lack of red zone production.

  • Ahmad

    Please tell me this is just a sick joke because almost all of these are wrong.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I actually don’t mind us not having any “elite” players listed. We do have some “very good” players though (Ben, Antonio, Pouncey, DeCastro, Timmons).

    When I think of “elite” though I think of how Troy used to be, or how Harrison used to be, or how Ben used to be, or even how maybe Heath used to be.

    The honest truth is (as far as how non-Steeler fans view us) right now we have a lot of good/great players but no real super stars. And I agree.

    What we do have is the potential for our whole to be better than the sum of our spots. Our guys are good in their role. In our system.

  • J&LSteeler

    I have to remind myself that this is the desert of the offseason. Bloggers and writers and even talking heads are desperate for content. They will take whatever comes their way, be it worthy or not fit for print. This rating seems to be a long reach, in the dark, by a blind man for something to try to stay relevant in the seasonal downturn of the phenomenon known as the NFL.

  • Kurt Williams

    Opinions are just that, until they get past the mediocre 8-8’s they will get no love from the media. We has homers always want our guys to above average to elite status, but 8-8 equals average.
    On paper the arrow is pointing up for this season, we shall see.

  • RW

    I agree with the exception of A. Brown. He’s a top 5 receiver in this league, without question. He may not have had the reception TDs last year, but he reminds me a lot of Jerry Rice as far as athleticism, route running and intelligence is concerned. If that doesn’t make him elite, I don’t know what does. I get the lack of red zone production, but that’ll continue to develop.

  • John C

    Looks about right as we stand right now except Mitchell should be listed as a Good Starter. Everyday I read articles and comments about how we need McLendon, Jones, Cortez to step up and improve on D and how the O-Line needs to improve. I think Bell needs to play all season like he did at the end of last and Heath needs to bounce back. Depending on how many of those things happen, we should end up top 5-15. If none do then I guess 27th?

  • Steel PAul

    Sam Monson makes a couple of points that I believe caused the team to drop to the 8-8 record they’ve had the past couple of years. He seems off-base with his final assumption though, failing to see the progress and seeming momentum that has spread through much of the team.

    Did poor 2008/2009 drafts lead to a team that struggled to replenish? Yes.
    Is their top-quality QB a big reason the team is in most games?
    Offensive line distinguished itself yet?
    No, not yet anyway.
    Buuuut, did the team persist with struggling players long past the point they should have given up on them?
    I don’t think so, no. I watched the team exit out some of the best Steelers in history. Ike was moved from the #1 cover corner midway thru the season in 2013 when he fell off.

    Many of the individual rankings, as well as his overall ranking, do not seem to consider team progress, player growth, and momentum, along with returning players and new coaches. I think he misses the mark there, which causes him to be off by a fair bit.

    27? Hard to make sense of that given an 8-8 finish, even with the ‘not-Elite’ QB.
    I’ll throw my dart at the board to land on a ranking of between 18-20 for 2013, with the arrow pointing up in several team areas.

    My 2014 dart projects itself to hit a 10-12 overall ranking with a playoff appearance and an AFC North title.

    Suck on that Sam Monson.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    Carolina was12-4 last year, what would they be without Cam? San Diego without Rivers?

  • westcoasteeler

    I rank Monson 103rd sports reporter just behind Rapaport.

  • Nolrog

    How can you rate JJ or Wheaton yet? There is not enough data to make a determination on either.


    I second your ranking. Go Steelers!

  • William Weaver

    Let’s get him!! Lol

  • James Miles

    This tool will be eating his words at the end of the season. The mere fact that he has Cleveland ranked 24th should tell you that he suffers from some kind of rationalization imbalance.

  • PPF base these on numbers… Our defense was shredded last season and offense was very dull until the 2nd half of the season when they turned it on.. I wouldn’t look to much into this.. Seattle has the best players which makes sense they won a Super Bowl and had a great year.

  • dave

    I agree with most of his ratings, but Ben is an elite qb and none of the other ratings really matter that much. An elite qb makes average players better.

  • Brian Miller


  • Brian Miller

    Well done sir…I see what you did there!

  • Brian Miller

    I really think that at least 1 or 2 players between Worilds, Timmons, Heyward, and DeCastro would have been High Quality, and putting Heath Miller as average starter makes me question his sanity in the first place.



  • Zach

    True for Wheaton, but let’s be honest, JJ had a poor year (albeit as a rookie).

  • Zach

    Most of this actually makes sense… of course as fans, we always expect players to overproduce, and the steelers have done so routinely (most notably in the 2005 SB run as a 6th seed). We may call it as rebuilding, reloading, whatever, but we had a massive roster turnover since 2010 (only 4 starters remain on O and 3 on D).

  • Steelers@2010

    I don’t agree with the assessment of starters; however, I do agree with one thing with this article, the Steelers simply haven’t drafted well over the past six years. Too many players drafted, never developed. And one more important note, they have held onto their players far too long after their prime.

  • cp72

    Le’Veon Bell will have 1200 yards and 50 catches this year. That yellow will turn dark green in two years.

  • cp72

    Jerry Rice???? Love AB, but slow your roll there bro.

  • Wing t

    San Diego ran the ball well last year and Carolina had a pretty good defense to help out those two qbs.

  • Hopper

    I understand a lot of people follow PFF, but this is just another example of a fantasy football mentality passing for football analysis. Many teams that perpetually sucked had a top 10 pick every year for the past 10 years, some (SF) still can’t win a SB. Some can’t even get close (Cleve), yet if you looked at their rosters they’re loaded with superstars. It’s how you play as a team and not the sum total of you individual talent. And by the way, as stupid as his approach is, the writer is wrong to the low side on no fewer than seven of his rankings.


    Although I think the evaluation was right on in some respects (Cam Thomas truly is only an average starter, let’s face it) in other ways it was waaaayyyyy off.
    AB is widely considered one of the top 5 receivers in the league – therefore elite almost by definition.
    If LeVeon Bell is average, then I think we need to draft more ‘average’ players like him!!!
    Timmons, Heyward, and DeCastro could be considered ‘high quality’ as well.
    This doesn’t really bother me – let’s see where we finish when/where it matters – on the field in January!!!

  • mem359

    I would agree with this, except a ranking of 27th out of 32 is way below average. Looking at the colors in that chart, the Steelers roster as a whole is average (should be in the middle of the pack), so this writer is saying 5/6ths of the league is above average?

  • mem359

    The Steelers went 6-2 in the second half when most of their players were healthy, and started 2-6 when the team was broken. (Early games were without the starting center, starting TE, backup TE, starting RB, etc.) I have a feeling the writer used the games when these players weren’t healthy to drag down the rating.

  • Steelbartender

    Flying under the radar is fine by me.

  • Its it april already.. lol Take this ranking with a grain of salt. It’s bs

  • Jones


  • TBone

    Pro’s – I hope the rest of the NFL underestimates the Steelers as much as this guy.

    Stephon Tuitt DE – not even on the list? 6ft 5 303lbs (kind of hard to miss)

    The Steelers have to prove themselves (before) they can have an elite lineup. That certainly has not been there the past two years.

  • Brendon Glad

    I like being under-the-radar. I think the Steelers have handled their team in an appropriate manner. I prefer l loyalty and class over cutting bait at the perfect time. I like continuity, I like when players are rewarded for excellent play, and I understand that the Steelers have been picking in the 20’s-30’s for the most part in this century. And that takes a toll over 7 rounds and several years. I think they deserve their low ranking, but that they will prove it wrong in 2014. I think the Steelers will be significantly more diverse on both sides of ball. I think the speed will help special-teams become a moderate strength instead of a huge weakness like most seasons, or an “ehhhh” like last season (sometimes good, sometimes bad).

  • Biophys

    Last year, the Chiefs’ defense was ranked 21th around this time. Their defense finished the season ranked 5th. I’m ready for the season to start so that we can stop relying on lousy prognostications.