Ranking The Steelers Starters: 12-10

Now that we’ve wrapped up the Ranking the Rooms: AFC North series here at Steelers Depot, it’s time to turn our attention to the Ranking the Starters series for the Steelers.

For clarity’s sake, we’ll run down the 24 starters, which include kicker and punter, but not long snapper or returners. Offensively, I’m going to rank the starters based on a three-wide set, with one tight end, meaning no fullback (sorry Rosie Nix fans). Defensively, I’m going to roll with the Steelers’ 3-4 defense, even though they run their nickel package much more than the actual 3-4 defense. So that means no Mike Hilton in this list.

Additionally, this list is based off my own personal rankings regarding skills, not value to the team like I did two years ago.

I’ll run down this group of 24 players in groups of three, making for an eight-piece series. Today, we’ll take a look at No. 12-10.

Last season’s list:

No. 24 – Jordan Berry
No. 23 – Ross Cockrell
No. 22 – Eli Rogers
No. 21 – Jesse James
No. 20 – Artie Burns
No. 19 – Vince Williams
No. 18 – Bud Dupree
No. 17 – Chris Boswell
No. 16 – Ramon Foster
No. 15- Alejandro Villanueva
No. 14 – Javon Hargrave
No. 13 – James Harrison
No. 12 – Sean Davis
No. 11 – Martavis Bryant
No. 10 – David DeCastro

This season’s list

No. 24 – Jordan Berry
No. 23 – Tyler Matakevich
No. 22 – Sean Davis
No. 21 – Bud Dupree
No. 20 – James Washington
No. 19 – Artie Burns
No. 18 – Jesse James
No. 17 – Vince Williams
No. 16 – Javon Hargrave
No. 15 – TJ Watt
No. 14 – Alejandro Villanueva
No. 13 – Ramon Foster

Let’s take a look at this year’s list of starters No. 12-10.

No. 12 – Morgan Burnett, S

The biggest free agent prize of the off-season for the Steelers, Morgan Burnett should step in right away at safety in place of the departed Mike Mitchell, providing the Steelers with a significant upgrade at the position, both in talent and in communication skills.

Burnett was a stalwart in the Packers’ secondary under Dom Capers, serving as a versatile safety that moved all over Green Bay’s defense the last eight seasons. He’ll be expected to do much of the same in Pittsburgh.

A tough matchup for tight ends, and a good run defender coming downhill, Burnett should help Pittsburgh’s back half of an improving defense take another big step forward in the 2018 season.

No. 11 – Chris Boswell, K

What a story Boswell has been since signing with the Steelers on Oct. 3, 2015. Since taking over for the injured Josh Scobee as a tryout signing, Boswell has missed just 10 kicks in his time in black and gold, making his first Pro Bowl last season for the Steelers.

While Justin Tucker and Greg Zuerlein get the headlines for best kicker in football, Boswell has quietly been one of the most consistent in the game week-to-week, providing the Steelers with a near-automatic three points from 50 yards and in.

No. 10 – Marcus Gilbert, OT

Aside from a suspension for PEDs, and a lengthy injury history, when on the field Gilbert is arguably the best right tackle in football.

He’s come a long way since being drafted in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Gilbert has successfully made the move from left tackle to right tackle, developing into one of the top run blockers at the position.

Gilbert still tends to struggle at times in pass protection, but he’s a key piece in the Steelers’ dominant ground game, allowing the Steelers to keep a balanced offensive attack week after week.

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