The offseason is almost over and thankfully, so are the annual summer “lists” that broach virtually every other subject. But here’s one more for the road. CBS Sports ranked the Top 100 players in the NFL with three members of the Pittsburgh Steelers made the list. I’m sure all of them, to Steelers’ Nation, are ranked far too low.
Here are the three rated in the list compiled together by the site’s analysts.
Ben Roethlisberger – #44
Cam Heyward – #78
JuJu Smith-Schuster – #80
Here’s what the site wrote about Roethlisberger:
“He led the NFL in pass attempts, completions, and yards last season, and his touchdown rate and interception rate were essentially identical to what they were the year before. Perhaps a major drop-off is coming, but it hasn’t arrived just yet.”
Roethlisberger continues to play his best ball even as he approaches age 40. The team asked more out of him last year than ever before, throwing nearly 700 attempts and putting the offense on his back. He may shoulder a slightly smaller load in 2019 from an attempts standpoint but he’ll have to function without Antonio Brown being his primary target.
He was the 9th ranked QB, 14 spots behind Matt Ryan, a ranking I’m sure fans will take issue with.
It’s good to see Heyward on the list but again it feels a little too low. CBS writes:
“Coming off back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons, Heyward appears to be at the top of his game right now. He’s got 20 sacks, 40 quarterback hits, and 26 tackles for loss over the past two years, numbers that rank second, fifth, and third among defensive tackles leaguewide.”
See what I mean? About as glowing of a review you can write. Still not someone in their top 75. But he’s been snubbed worse before. Heyward racked up eight sacks last year to finish second on the team. That trailed only TJ Watt, who didn’t show up on this list. Speaking of snubs, David DeCastro didn’t even show up on this list. Which, just…wow.
JuJu did appear two spots behind Heyward.
“When you’re 22 years old and you put up a 111-catch, 1,426-yard, seven-touchdown season and overtake the No. 1 role from a player who was universally considered the best wide receiver in football, you’re going to end up on the Top 100. It’s not at all difficult to see Smith-Schuster ranking significantly higher on next year’s list.”
Gut reaction says this is too low but these ratings are often partially influenced by seniority. And there are a host of great receivers in the league. It’s fair to assume Smith-Schuster will propel himself into the Top 50 with a similar season as his first two.
The highest player in the AFC North was the Browns’ Odell Beckham Jr, who came in 14th overall and a top five receiver overall. To see the whole list, including the top 5, we’ll again link it here.