Pro Football Focus recently published their own All-Pro team, and as you might expect, there wasn’t much representation for the Pittsburgh Steelers outside of the obvious, which would be wide receiver Antonio Brown after completing one of the greatest regular season campaigns that anybody at his position has ever had.
But the Steelers received recognition for several other players, all on the offensive side of the ball, as honorable mentions, many of which you could imagine may have charted higher had their seasons not been limited for one reason or another.
PFF chose Carson Palmer as their first-team quarterback, and Tom Brady made the second-team, and both of those are certainly very understandable selections, but Ben Roethlisberger (as well as Cam Newton) were recognized as honorable mentions for the position.
Roethlisberger, of course, has had a turbulent season in terms of health, in spite of the fact that he has been sacked at a lower rate than at any other point in his career. The problem is that those sacks came with more force, which led to injury.
The injuries started in Week Three when he was sacked with a hit to the knee, which resulted in an MCL sprain in addition to a bone bruise, which sidelined him for four games, eliminating him from a full quarter of the season, yet he still very nearly threw for 4000 yards. He also suffered a foot injury as well as a possible concussion over the course of the year en route to putting up some impressive stats, albeit with a disappointingly high interception total.
Also recognized on the list as an honorable mention was DeAngelo Williams, in spite of the fact that he started only 10 games with Le’Veon Bell playing six games before he tore his MCL, ending his season. Williams started the first two games of the season while Bell was suspended, and then returned to the starting lineup for the second half of the season.
He proceeded to merely produce 907 yards on 200 carries even for 4.5 yards per carry, tying for the league lead with 11 touchdowns, the most by a Steelers running back in the past five seasons. He also caught a career-high 40 passes for another career-high 367 yards.
Making the first-team All-Pro list ahead of him was Doug Martin with a resurgent season, and the second-team nomination went to Williams’ long-time teammate, Jonathan Stewart. Adrian Peterson shared Williams’ honorable mention status.
The final Steeler to be recognized as an honorable mention, and deservedly so in my estimation, was right tackle Marcus Gilbert, who stayed healthy all season for the first time of his career and simply had his best season to date, giving up just one sack while playing all but five snaps during the year.
With four players on offense recognized as among the best at their position on the offensive side of the ball, it is clear that that is where their talent lies, according to PFF. I would have given consideration to Cameron Heyward for their combined list of three- and five-tech linemen, of which Aaron Donald and J.J. Watt received top honors, but then again, it’s not my list.