With the 2017 NFL Draft now over and the bulk of the heavy lifting done with regard to the roster building process now out of the way, it is easier to begin to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand at certain positions, and what the implications might be of a variety of moves for certain players.
And take stock is what we shall do, as every move has ramifications up and down the roster, so now we will take a look at some specific players and see how the team’s moves during the course of the offseason thus far, and more specifically since the draft, have sent their stock rising, falling, or breaking even.
Player: Ben Roethlisberger
Stock Value: Even
He may be fully committed to this season, and he may have more talent around him this year than he did a year ago, but I’m not finding a compelling reason to indicate that his value is continuing to rise at this point in his career until I see some tangible growth in some important areas.
Two areas, in particular. One is cutting down on the interceptions and interceptable passes. He got rather lucky last season in particular to have as few interceptions as he did, and that was still one of the higher ratios of his career since the passing game became the focal point of the offense.
The other area, and the far more important one, is his performance on the road. This is something that we have touched on a number of times this offseason, but it’s really quick inexplicable. Nobody excels on his home turf the way Roethlisberger does over the course of the past few years, but yet he is also toward the bottom among performers on the road. The disparity is the widest in the entire league.
And it’s really quite uncanny, the issues behind it difficult to pinpoint. It must be to at least some degree an aberration, but there is clearly more behind it than that. Regardless of the whys, it must be fixed this season in order for them to reach their destination, which is the award podium with a trophy in their hands at the end of the Super Bowl.
On no pair of shoulders is that more squarely placed than on Roethlisberger’s as the franchise quarterback of the team, simply part of the territory of the job. He is—frequently—an excellent, elite quarterback, by all means, but he has had his issues like pretty much everybody not named Tom Brady.
The continued improvement of the offensive line will help. A reloaded group of wide receivers will help. Another year working with this tight end group will help. But will it be enough? Much of it is up to him and him alone.