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Ranking The Steelers Starters: 3-1

We have reached the finish line.

First of all, I want to thank every single one of you readers for taking the time to read this series throughout the last month or so.

I know it’s been a slog to get here, but I truly appreciate you all taking the time to read and interact in the comments section.

Fortunately, this has created quite a bit of discussion to carry us to training camp, which was the goal of this series.

But now, it’s time to wrap it up. Let’s take a look at the final installment of the Ranking the Starters series.

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
No. 9 – Mike Mitchell
No. 8 – Maurkice Pouncey
No. 7 – Cam Heyward
No. 6 – Marcus Gilbert
No. 5 – Stephon Tuitt
No. 4 – Ryan Shazier
No. 3- Le’Veon Bell
No. 2 – Ben Roethlisberger
No. 1 – Antonio Brown

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
No. 12 – Morgan Burnett
No. 11 – Chris Boswell
No. 10 – Marcus Gilbert
No. 9 – Maurkice Pouncey
No. 8 – JuJu Smith-Schuster
No. 7 – Joe Haden
No. 6- Stephon Tuitt
No. 5 – Cam Heyward
No. 4 – Le’Veon Bell

Without further ado, he’s the 2018 ranking of starters No. 3-1.

No. 3 – Ben Roethlisberger, QB

Another year, another elite Ben Roethlisberger performance. Breaking in a rookie receiver and a guy coming back from a season-long suspension, as well as a new tight end, Roethlisberger put up astounding numbers once again, even with some frustrating home-road splits.

At 36 years old, Roethlisberger continues to be one of the savviest quarterbacks in football, routinely carving up opposing secondaries, allowing the Steelers’ offense to continue to produce at an elite level.

Despite getting up there in age, I can’t see a scenario – aside from injury – where Roethlisberger starts to slow down as a passer, considering Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster are still around, and an elite offensive line stays together in front of him.

No. 2 – David DeCastro, OL

This could be a head-scratcher in the top three, but let me explain:  aside from Dallas Cowboys left guard Zack Martin, David DeCastro is far and away one of the best guards in all of football, and is easily the best guard in the AFC.

He’s had his ups and downs with penalties, but he’s a tremendous run blocker and has really emerged as a pass protector. For what it’s worth, Pro Football Focus graded DeCastro out as the No. 2 guard in the NFL, which shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Additionally, DeCastro is a bargain compared to Martin, considering Martin’s average annual value is $14m, while DeCastro’s is $10m. The gap isn’t anywhere near as far apart in talent as it is in monetary value.

While the Steelers’ starting offensive line is considered one of the best in all of football, DeCastro is head and shoulders the best lineman of that group.

No. 1 – Antonio Brown, WR

This really shouldn’t come as a surprise at all.

Once again, Antonio Brown is the best receiver in football, considering his elite route running abilities, his explosive athleticism, toughness and clutch gene. Defenses can try to triple team him…it doesn’t matter. Ask Jacksonville about that, or any defense for that matter.

Brown just recently turned 30 years old, and he looks to be in the best shape of his life, which could spell a monster year now that Smith-Schuster will draw even more attention in his second year, and James Washington can hopefully take the top off of defenses, forcing coverage away from AB in certain situations.

Heading into this season, you can pencil AB in for roughly 110 receptions, around 1,500 yards and at least 10 touchdowns. It will be interesting to see how teams try and slow him down this season. Nothing has worked yet.

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