Ranking The Steelers Starters: 6-4

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. 6-4.

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

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

Let’s take a look at this year’s starters, No. 6-4.

No. 6 – Stephon Tuitt, DE

Aside from playing through multiple injuries last season, which caused his play to fall off some at the end of the season, Stephon Tuitt has emerged into a above-average 3-4 defensive end.

Against the run, Tuitt lives in the opposing team’s backfield, causing a ton of disruption for opponent’s run games. Tuitt played in just 12 games last season and saw his sack total drop from four to three last year, but it’s important to remember he played through a torn triceps tendon, and hurt his knee before the playoffs started.

Here’s hoping for better health this fall so that we can see the return of a dominant – and nearly unblockable – Tuitt every Sunday.

No. 5 – Cam Heyward, DE

Nobody made a bigger leap into stardom last season across the NFL than one Cam Heyward, who deserved every bit of NFL Defensive Player of the Year hype that he received towards the end of the 2017 season.

Heyward increased his sack total from three in an injury-plagued 2016 season, to 12.0 in 2017, earning a Pro Bowl nod while helping the Steelers defense take a major step forward, at least early in the season.

Along with Tuitt, Heyward lived in opponent’s backfields throughout the 2017 season, proving to be one of the toughest blocks in all of football. If 2017 was a sign of things to come, the sky is the limit for Heyward in 2018.

No. 4 – Le’Veon Bell, RB

WHAT??!!? Yeah.

Bell falls one spot from 2017 to 2018 despite putting up another great season in black and gold. The do-everything running back reached the Pro Bowl once again, while rushing for nearly 1,300 yards and hauling in 85 receptions for 655 yards, scoring 11 total touchdowns.

The last time we saw Bell, he lit up Jacksonville’s defense in the AFC divisional round game at Heinz Field. The reason Bell falls one spot is that despite rushing for 23 more yards from 2016 to 2017, and adding 10 more catches, Bell lost nearly a yard per carry last season, and lost nearly half a yard per catch as well.

A lot of Bell’s output was due to workload. That’s not a knock, it’s just reality. He’s still the best all-around running back in football without a doubt.

To Top
error: Alert: Content is protected !!