How many players currently on the Pittsburgh Steelers roster will ultimately wind up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame? Nobody really knows for sure but that’s not stopping Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News from taking his best guess ahead of training camps around the league getting underway.
On Wednesday, Iyer attempted to identify the sure-fire future Hall of Famers from all 32 NFL teams in addition to listing the chances of several other players who might have shots at landing in Canton after their respective careers are over with. In total, Iyer has suggested that there are currently 28 surefire Hall of Famers playing in the NFL and not surprisingly, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is one of them . Below is his reasoning for having Roethlisberger on that list as a surefire future Hall of Famer.
Ben Roethlisberger (100 percent): Big Ben hasn’t always stood tall off the field, and there has been some tumult on the field. But he also is a six-time Pro Bowler with two rings and a ton of clutch numbers.
Iyer went on to list five other players currently on the Steelers who he believes could ultimately wind up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame along with the percent chances for each. Leading his list of those five additional Steelers players are center Maurkice Pouncey and guard David DeCastro and he has the chances of each listed at 90 percent and 80 percent, respectively. Below are his reasoning for listing both so high.
Maurkice Pouncey (90 percent): He has been a Pro Bowler for six of his seven seasons in Pittsburgh. He will join the late Mike Webster and Dermontti Dawson as Steelers centers in the Hall.
David DeCastro (80 percent): He has had four consecutive dominant seasons at right guard. At some point, both he and retired left guard Alan Faneca (not in the Hall yet) will be in Canton together.
Beyond Pouncey and DeCastro, Iyer has listed wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, outside linebacker T.J. Watt and defensive lineman Cameron Heyward has the other three players he believes to have shots at ultimately landing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. All three players, however, are currently listed by Iyer has having less than a 50 percent chance to do so. Below are his reasons for listing those three players along with the percent chance he has assigned to each.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (40 percent): Put him in the Mahomes category. He has shown off-the-charts playmaking in two big seasons, and he doesn’t turn 23 until September. Health willing, he will be Hall-bound.
T.J. Watt (30 percent): He has 20 sacks in two seasons, right on track to one day join J.J. in the Hall, also assuming good health.
Cameron Heyward (20 percent): Heyward has always been an unheralded rock of their 3-4 defense, but he has gotten the sack (20 total) and Pro Bowl credentials only in the past two years. He turned 30 in May.
Iyer obviously isn’t likely to get any real pushback from readers when it comes to him having Roethlisberger on his list of 28 surefire future Hall of Famers currently playing in the NFL. As for Pouncey and DeCastro both being listed by Iyer with 80 percent or greater chances, that might be a tad generous on his part. Both are obviously great NFL offensive linemen with quite a bit of hardware in the form of Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections in their back pockets. Personally, I would probably list both Pouncey and DeCastro at around 75 percent. A few more All-Pro seasons for both players combined with a Super Bowl championship or two would certainly improve their chances that extra little bit to where Iyer currently has them speculated to be at.
For whatever it’s worth, Pouncey is one of just two players listed by Iyer as currently having a 90 percent chance of getting into the Pro Football Hall of Fame with Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz being the other one. DeCastro, on the other hand, is one of 10 players listed by Iyer as having an 80 percent chance of making it to Canton.
While I do understand Iyer’s reasoning for having both Smith-Schuster and Watt on his list, it’s probably way too early for both to be considered potential future Hall of Famers. After all, both players have only played two seasons in the NFL. Personally, I think Iyer would have been better served to limit his Wednesday list to players who have logged at least five years in the NFL to date.
As for Heyward rounding out Iyer’s list of potential Hall of Famers currently on the Steelers roster, the team’s former first-round draft pick out of Ohio State will likely need to double his current career sack total of 45 to even ultimately get his name on a future ballot. Heyward, however, can probably play at least five more seasons and if he’s able to avoid serious injuries, and if he can log an average of at least 9 sacks in those next five seasons he’d likely end his career in the top 50 of the NFL’s all-time sack list. Winning a few Super Bowl championships along the way would obviously make his potential Hall of Fame resume look a lot better as would at least three more first-team All-Pro selections.