Yesterday, NFL.com writer Elliot Harrison posted his “All-Under-25” Team, which is essentially the All-Pro list for players who will be under the age of 25 by the team the 2015 regular season kicks off on the 10th of September.
Two members of the Pittsburgh Steelers made the list, and the pair presents an interesting dichotomy, exposing the difficulties of assembling a list such as this from a limited pool.
One player should be easy enough to guess, while the other is not so obvious—or it wouldn’t be, were it not in the title of the article. The Steelers were represented by one player each on offense and special teams.
The first name on the list is no surprise, given that he made the actual All-Pro list. That is third-year running back Le’Veon Bell, who emerged as a legitimate candidate to be named the best all-around running back in the league with his stellar display in 2014.
Harrison writes about Bell:
The best all-around back in the NFL. Bell combines explosiveness with the patience required of all the greats. Pittsburgh’s young star has only fumbled once in 662 career touches. Last year, he didn’t lose a single fumble while rushing for an AFC-best 1,361 yards and catching 83 balls.
Bell was second in the league in all-purpose yards, as he added 854 receiving yards on those 83 receptions. His 2215 yards is a franchise record, and it’s easy to believe that he will continue to get better, though he will be handicapped in 2015 as he faces a suspension.
Eight of Bell’s 11 touchdowns in 2014 came in the five-game stretch ending the season that consisted of the final five games that he completed. That excludes the season finale in which he was injured.
The other Steelers player to make Harrison’s All-Under-25 team was, surprisingly, punter Brad Wing, who very well may not even be on the roster by the time the regular season starts, because his season was not very impressive.
Harrison writes about Wing:
Truth be told, this blurb was initially filed in the font known as “Wingdings.” Unfortunately, my editor did not find it as apropos as I did. While not absolutely fantastic, Wing was viable, knocking 20 punts inside the 20 and posting a respectable 38.8 net average. Let’s see if the Australian takes flight in his second NFL season.
The one thing that the Steelers seemed to like about Wing was the fact that he didn’t appear to be phased by his struggles. If he shanked a punt early in a game, that would not necessarily affect the way he punted the rest of the game.
In my estimation, the Steelers really only have two players on the roster who could make a legitimate push to earn their way onto this list next season, barring the rookie draft class. Those are the Steelers’ top two picks from a year ago, Ryan Shazier and Stephon Tuitt, both of whom are already starters. Bell will still only be 24 next year, meaning he could make this list again.