Ah, yes, nothing quite so beautiful as March power rankings, is there? Well before so much of the offseason moves have been made—there is still the entirety of the draft—and before there is any chance of actually seeing how everything comes together. But, of course, we can only work with what is currently available to us, right?
Let’s face it, power rankings are a staple of the football media universe, or really any sport. Actually, we as humans just really enjoy ranking things, in general. Well, enough of us do that it allows us to talk about power rankings for the NFL in March, so here we go.
In the latest installment of the league website’s power rankings, the Pittsburgh Steelers check in at 10, making a jump up 16 spots from the dead center of the pack. Overall, it seems as though those on the outside are fans of what Pittsburgh has done over the course of the past couple of weeks—and of what they’ve heard about Ben Roethlisberger’s recovery.
All I want to do is talk about Ben Roethlisberger’s beard. It’s magnificent and mysterious and hideous and bizarre and comforting … all at the same time. It looks like Big Ben has been in quarantine since last March. The exit of Javon Hargrave to the Eagles hurts, but the Steelers acted quickly to address the loss by trading with the Ravens(!) for defensive lineman Chris Wormley. On offense, Roethlisberger gets a new red-zone weapon in tight end Eric Ebron, who is one season removed from a 13-touchdown campaign with Andrew Luck and the Colts. Ebron is a flawed player, but the former first-round pick has a chance to put up numbers in Pittsburgh’s two tight end offense.
It’s been a while since the two-tight end sets—with two actual tight ends, rather than a tackle—has been a significant part of the Steelers’ offense, but with Eric Ebron being brought in to pair with Vance McDonald, and perhaps without a pressing need to have three receivers on the field as much as possible, it is more likely than it has been.
One of the understated storylines of this season is the offensive line. Not just because of Ramon Foster retiring and B.J. Finney leaving, and the musical chairs that could stem from that. Also just because, this group is getting old. How many years does Maurkice Pouncey have left, for example? It’s not as though Stefen Wisniewski is going to be his successor.
Would you put the Steelers in the top 10 teams in the NFL right now? In case you didn’t feel like clicking the link, the remaining top 10, from first on up: the Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks, Buffalo Bills, and Philadelphia Eagles. The Steelers saw the third-largest jump, behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts, both of whom got new franchise quarterbacks in Tom Brady and Philip Rivers.