While it is certainly nothing that we didn’t already know, it’s always nice to see the talent of this Pittsburgh Steelers roster received its due accolades from the national media, and they got just that earlier this week on the NFL’s website, with columnist Bucky Brooks deeming that the Steelers have the second-most talented roster in the league.
The only team that finished ahead of the Steelers in Brooks’ list of the top 10 most talented rosters was the Seahawks, citing the fact that they have consistently been a Super Bowl contender for the past four seasons and crediting the “Legion of Boom” secondary that boasts three All-Pro performers.
Brooks views the Seattle roster as boasting nine blue-chip players, along with three more players on the rise. In comparison, Brooks sees seven blue-chip players on the Steelers’ roster, with another three players on the rise, although the latter contains a fairly substantial caveat.
Among those three risers listed was wide receiver Martavis Bryant, who has already proven his talent on the field during his first two seasons, which consists thus far of 21 regular season games and three postseason games, but, of course, he is suspended for the entire duration of the 2016 season, already effective, so he’s not exactly a factor right now.
The blue chips on the roster, according to Brooks, are quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le’Veon Bell, wide receiver Antonio Brown, center Maurkice Pouncey, guard David DeCastro, defensive end Cameron Heyward, and linebacker Lawrence Timmons.
I’m certain that nobody will bat an eye at the first six—the first five have all been named a first-team All-Pro or to multiple Pro Bowls—though no doubt many will question if Timmons, who made his first Pro Bowl in 2014, is still deserving of being placed in that category.
The other two rising players listed other than Bryant are defensive end Stephon Tuitt and linebacker Ryan Shazier. All three of those players—all from the 2014 draft—should be givens based purely on what they have done on the field thus far, particularly Tuitt, who is on the fast track to that blue chip status, I think.
Brooks writes that the Steelers “could be downright scary in 2016”, describing their roster as “chock-full of blue-chip talent on both sides of the ball”. He calls the offensive triplet of Roethlisberger, Bell, and Brown “the most explosive” trio “in the NFL today”, with all three “ranking among the absolute best at their respective positions”.
In terms of the defense, “the emergence of Timmons and Heyward as impact players along the front seven could held the defense return to the ranks of the elite and help fuel a Super Bowl run”. Heyward could be fairly described as emerging, but Timmons is a nine-year veteran who is closer to falling than rising at this stage of his career.
Obviously, the team is hoping to add to that list of defensive risers with young talent such as Bud Dupree, Artie Burns, Senquez Golson, Sean Davis, and Javon Hargrave. But we already knew the Steelers have the talent to win. The questions that now remain are whether or not they can put all the pieces together, and stay healthy in the process.