The biggest criticism of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the past decade is that they haven’t been able to win another Super Bowl in spite of all the talent that they have had. They took some major hits in the talent department this offseason on offense, but also made some significant improvements in that area—on paper—defensively as well.
So do they still have a top-10 team in terms of talent? Apparently Gil Brandt doesn’t seem to think so. He recently published a list of his top 10 teams in the league this season based on their talent, and the Steelers did not make the cut for the veteran analyst.
His list was headed up by a pair of teams in the NFC East, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. What pushed the Eagles over the edge for Brandt is the fact that they don’t just have the talent, they also have that talent locked up for the next few years, which suggests that this list is about a little more than just the upcoming season.
There aren’t a ton of surprises in the top half of the list, with the Chicago Bears at number three. They have quality players all over the field, especially on the defensive side of the ball, and numbers four and five on the list are the defending conference champions, the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots.
Also not a surprise, but notable, is the inclusion of the Cleveland Browns on the list, who check in at number nine. They are the only team on the list who had a losing record in 2018, and the only team who didn’t make the postseason as well. But we know why that is.
“On paper, this is the most talented team Cleveland has fielded since returning to the NFL in 1999”, he wrote. “The trade that netted star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and pass rusher Olivier Vernon was just one headline-grabbing highlight of a broader team-building project that included drafting youngsters like Baker Mayfield, Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward and Nick Chubb and acquiring veterans like Jarvis Landry, Damarious Randall, Kareem Hunt and Sheldon Richardson”.
He added that the question mark that remains for the team is along the offensive line, as they move ahead assuming that Greg Robinson can settle in as a franchise left tackle. They are also replacing Kevin Zeitler, a former Pro Bowl guard.
“The defensive tackle rotation is shaky beyond Richardson and rising talent Larry Ogunjobi”, he added, which is true. “Is the hype coming one year too soon? It’s hard to say, but the roster is strong”.
And what about the Steelers’ roster? They might not have Antonio Brown anymore but they do have JuJu Smith-Schuster. Would you consider them a top-10 roster based on talent entering the 2019 season?