The votes are now in for 2018 and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is still considered a top tier NFL quarterback.
Mike Sando of ESPN.com released his fifth annual NFL QB Tier rankings on Tuesday and his poll of 50 league insiders resulted in Roethlisberger being ranked fourth overall and the last player in the top tier. Ranked ahead of Roethlisberger are Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. This marks the second year in a row Roethlisberger finished with 30 votes in Tier 1 and 20 in Tier 2. The last two years he finished No. 3 overall in Sando’s rankings.
“He is a 1 and I think it will show up a little bit more this year,” an offensive coordinator said, according to Sando. “They have put the burden on him and they will try to take it off just a hair this year.”
The breakdown of Sando’s 50 league insider voters this year: includes 10 general managers, five head coaches, 10 coordinators, 10 senior personnel executives, five QB coaches and 10 others with job titles ranging from assistant coach to salary-cap manager to analytics director.
Obviously, not all 50 voters have Roethlisberger as a top tier quarterback.
“You could make an argument that he is a 2 because he doesn’t play very good on the road, but with his production and what they have done offensively, I think he is a 1,” an unnamed quarterbacks coach said, according to Sando. “Now, he does not take care of his body very well. He is so naturally gifted, but I think once it goes, it will go fast.”
Roethlisberger, who is about to start his 15th season in the NFL, as showed no real signs of slowing down in recent seasons. He threw for 4,251 yards last season and 28 touchdowns. While he did throw 14 interceptions last season, five of them came in the team’s Week 5 home loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars and not all; of them were entirely on him.
With Randy Fichtner taking over as the Steelers offensive coordinator in 2018, there’s no reason to think that Roethlisberger can’t have an even more productive season than he did in 2017. In short, it will be disappointing if he’s not still considered a top tier quarterback in Sando’s rankings a year from now.