A huge undertaking every year, a large contingent of people were brought on to compile Bleacher Report’s NFL 1000, grading the top 1000 players in the league. It’s always a little unconventional, controversial, but a labor of love with some really smart people sending in their grades.
Unveiled yesterday, they break things down position by position.
Just like it is more any team, the Pittsburgh Steelers had some interesting rankings. Let’s break them down.
You can check out all of their rankings at the link here.
Ben Roethlisberger – #5
He finished behind Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Philip Rivers, and Andrew Luck. Steelers fans will certainly debate Roethlisberger being behind Rivers and Luck though in a vacuum, those two have the physical traits as good as anyone in the league.
His accuracy was ranked 22/25. His decision-making had the highest rank, 18/20.
Landry Jones was ranked 43rd overall out of 47.
Le’Veon Bell – #2
Predictably behind Adrian Peterson. He finished with an overall grade of 84/100, one point behind Peterson. He was ranked slightly higher for his inside running (22) than his outside running (21).
DeAngelo Williams – #13
He finished ahead of the likes of Mark Ingram, Eddie Lacy, and Jeremy Hill with a final grade of 78. His inside running grade was 21/25.
Roosevelt Nix – #7
Maybe a little lower than expected, though this seems to be strictly for fullback functionality, not special teams value. Nix’s blocking received a 40/50. The Carolina Panthers’ Mike Tolbert came in first with a grade of 76. Nix finished with a 73.
Antonio Brown – #2
Sure to make Steelers’ fans upset, Brown actually tied for 2nd with Dez Bryant in overall grade, the pair earning a score of 90. Julio Jones finished first with 92.
Curiously, he tied with Julio Jones in route running (24/25) and finished behind in yards after catch, netting an 18/20 compared to Jones’ 19. His blocking also scored as a 16, arguably a couple points too high.
Darrius Heyward-Bey – #104
He scored well for his route running (19) and hands (20). His blocking, oddly enough, was just a nine. It was the worst of the three Steelers’ graded despite the fact he is known as – and is – the team’s best blocking receiver.
Markus Wheaton – #106
Wheaton had a quiet first half of 2015 but this feels terribly too low. He was dinged for his YAC (10/20) and his hands (17/25) though the hands grade is agreeable. His blocking was given a 13, four points higher than DHB.
Jesse James – #34
In no surprise, and rightly so, he finished low on the list. Maybe a bit too low, behind guys like Nick Boyle and Josh Hill, but his tape is limited and his game is growing. He received a 20/30 grade for his blocking. His grades are hard to argue with across the board.
David Johnson – #50
Again, no surprise here, though his blocking got a 15/25, which seems too low. Shouldn’t be that much lower than James.
Ryan Harris – #31
Yes, above Alejandro Villanueva, Harris graded out slightly better as a pass blocker than he did against the run. His “power” grade was just a 14, one of the lower scores of the entire group.
Alejandro Villanueva – #34
Almost at the bottom of the list, Villanueva only graded decent in “agility,” a 17/20. His run and pass blocking each garnered a grade of 14. His tape was rough at times last season though had it been viewed in a larger scope, and his progression evident, he likely would’ve finished higher.
Marcus Gilbert – #2
Love seeing Gilbert get some praise. He actually tied Mitchell Schwartz for best in the league with final grades of 86. Schwartz finished with slightly higher grades as a run and pass blocker while Gilbert scored better in agility and power.
David DeCastro – #13
I think DeCastro, and the Steelers would disagree with this one. And also probably not care after yesterday’s pay day. He finished with an overall grade of 77, eleven points behind Marshal Yanda’s 88.
Ramon Foster – #30
Probably a fair enough assessment here. His run blocking had a 17, his pass blocking a 19. His agility score was predictably low, a 10, tied for the lowest score of any guard.
Maurkice Pouncey – #7
Pouncey graded out well in every category. He finished with an overall grade of 76, a far cry from Travis Frederick’s 90 overall. Pouncey pulled an 18/19 split as a run/pass blocker.
Cody Wallace – #29
Pretty much agree with this one across the board. Much better run blocker (16) than pass protector (12) with a low agility score (13).
3-4 Defensive Ends
Cam Heyward – #7
A bit lower than I had hoped for but he’s in good company. He graded best as a pass rusher (20/25) and against the run (24/30). J.J. Watt paced the group, as you’d expect.
Stephon Tuitt – #14
Also feels low, especially with the low snap explosion (10/15) and especially as a pass rusher, where he graded as just an 18. His run defense was solid, earning a 22.
Javon Hargrave – #68
The only Steeler on the list. Daniel McCullers was not included on this group of 89. His snap explosion grade was his highest mark, a 16/25.
3-4 Outside Linebackers
James Harrison – #12
Sounds about right. He earned a 19/25 as a rusher and a 20/25 against the run. Predictably, and correctly, he scored low in coverage.
Arthur Moats – #25
The second highest Steeler with Bud Dupree not counted because he is on IR. Also a fair ranking. His pass rush earned a grade of 17, perhaps a point or two too high.
Jarvis Jones – #48
Seeing Jones this low on the list comes as no surprise. His run defense was his highest grade, as it should be (17), but his coverage was much lower than I expected. Just an 8/15.
Ryan Shazier – #18
His play was a little spotty, and health was an obvious concern, but 18 feels too low, even realizing all inside linebackers got lumped in here. His pass defense scored a 19/25. He came in with an overall score of 74. Luke Kuechly finished first with a 91 overall.
Lawrence Timmons – #48
Coming off a bit of a down year (injuries played a factor), it’s no shock to see him score poorly. His run defense was the highest, a 24 of 35. His pass defense was below average, just a 16.
Tyler Matakevich – #61
Vince Williams, for reasons unknown to me, was not part of this list. Matakevich’s score of 25 in run defense was higher than Timmons, though you can only grade based on what tape is available, not projection.
Sean Davis – #63
Maybe the most questionable rankings of all. Davis came in first but had a coverage score of just 13/30. He had an overall score of 58. In first place was Tyrann Mathieu, finishing with a 92.
Ross Cockrell – #65
His coverage score was 17/30, his highest grade and his tackling was correctly scored, just a 5/10.
William Gay – #90
No idea how Gay scored so poorly, an overall of 52. He finished behind rookies Xavien Howard and Daryl Worley. Gay’s tackling was also given just a five, the same grade as Cockrell, so far off base to anyone who watches this team. His coverage was a 15.
Artie Burns – #109
Tough to grade off just 45 snaps but Burns had a 13/30 grade in coverage. His tackling was a lowly 4.
Robert Golden – #36
Golden, viewed by most as a strong safety, is with this group. His coverage was a 16/30 and his tackling was an accurate 16/20.
Mike Mitchell – #38
Surprised to see him behind Golden and the 37 others, including rookie DeAndre Houston-Carson. His coverage was slightly better than Golden (17), his tackling, a point worse (15). Coverage is too low for my taste.
Chris Boswell – #12
Final grade of 68, 12 points behind the clubhouse leaders. His accuracy was his highest mark with a 31/40. His power was low, just a 27/40.
Jordan Berry – #12
Pair ‘o 12s. He didn’t grade out special in any one area. His accuracy grade was a 37/45.