Ah, there’s nothing quite like early May power rankings. Except for all of the other meaningless rankings that take place way before we even know a whole lot about what teams are going to be like for the upcoming season. The Pittsburgh Steelers had one of the best records in the league last season and earned a first-round bye but were one-and-done in the playoffs.
In the league’s website’s first power rankings following the 2018 NFL Draft, they have the Steelers checking in at the eighth spot, which is a drop of one from apparently where they previously were. The Atlanta Falcons are evidently now better than them because of the draft.
“Small drop for the Steelers”, writes Eliott Harrison, “with the trade of receiver Martavis Bryant to the Raiders. Save the nastygrams — I am totally aware that Pittsburgh grabbed Oklahoma State wideout James Washington in the second round (No. 60 overall). That doesn’t mean he’ll be Bryant 2.0 this year”.
But…well, Bryant wasn’t even Bryant 1.0 last season and they made it as far as they did. “We’ll see”, Harrison went on. “That’s one of the tougher positions at which to make the transition from college to pro football”. Is it, though? Especially for the Steelers? They sure have a lot of success.
Harrison hardly had comment for any other draft pick, noting that he liked the selection of quarterback Mason Rudolph but recognized that it is unlikely to do much good for them in 2018. He also decided to make the same intentional gaffe that everybody else has with Marcus Allen since, you know, there was a running back of the same name once upon a time. And I bet Jordan Dangerfield doesn’t get any respect, either. Harharhar.
Pretty compelling to do a post-draft power ranking while pretty much only talking about one draft pick out of seven. Harrison didn’t even mention Terrell Edmunds, the Steelers’ first-round draft pick, who, you know, is going to play.
Admittedly it’s not easy to see obviously significant contributions from this draft class beyond the first two selections because their third-round choices were made more with an eye toward the future and they did not draft again until about a third of the way through the fifth round, but they have a class this year in which all seven draft picks have a good chance of making the team.
How much better are they for the 2018 season after the draft than they were before the draft? Well, this is the thing a lot of Steelers fans are having trouble with, because they don’t believe the team really did get much better at all. Sure, they drafted Washington, but traded Bryant. Edmunds was ‘a reach’ at a position that they addressed in free agency so he’ll likely be a sub-package player for at least most of his rookie season.
But you know what? The Steelers were already among the best teams in the league before the draft happened.