The top offseason fodder of all offseason fodder. Power rankings.
Peter King’s giving us some sports to talk about this Monday, unveiling his latest list over on Pro Football Talk. He has the Pittsburgh Steelers’ ranked 10th, appearing to hold them back a bit for not solving their backup QB situation. Here’s what King had to write:
“One day I’ll understand team-building. One big thing that I didn’t quite get this offseason is Pittsburgh GM Kevin Colbert, one of the best team architects in the NFL, not backstopping Ben Roethlisberger with a better backup. Made zero sense to me. The Steelers went 3-4 in the last seven weeks, fighting for the sixth playoff spot with Tennessee at the end of the season. In the four losses, with Devlin Hodges or Mason Rudolph playing, the offense sputtered consistently.”
King has been among the most vocal national media members in calling for the Steelers to sign a veteran backup QB. He was one of the Jameis Winston conductors before Winston inked a prove-it deal with New Orleans. And he’s making his case again, rightly pointing out the offensive woes the team had once Ben Roethlisberger was lost six quarters into the season.
While the Steelers had poor QB play and even we’ve debated Pittsburgh’s full confidence in Rudolph, it’s fair to let him have another year to show progression. 2019 was difficult for a variety of reasons and to assume Rudolph won’t get better after a year of starting is foolish. Pittsburgh needs to see if they made the right move drafting him and the only way to do that is putting him in a position to play. Rudolph is near the top of the list for players who need to perform well this summer.
Beyond the quarterback debate, King transitioned to praising the Steelers’ defense, a unit he expects to be one of the league leaders for the second straight year.
“The defense, with ace safety Minkah Fitzpatrick likely better after being thrown into the starting lineup with the September trade from Miami, should be a top-five NFL D again. Pittsburgh led the NFL with 54 sacks and 38 takeaways in 2019…”
No team has had as many sacks over the last three years than Pittsburgh while their takeaway numbers spiked after years of underwhelming results. It’ll be tough to hit 38 turnovers again but the Steelers should still force plenty of mistakes. The continuity in their secondary, as King hints at and as we wrote about this morning, will only help.
Unsurprisingly, the Super Bowl winning Kansas City Chiefs claimed the top spot on King’s list. Around the AFC North, the Baltimore Ravens finished 2nd, the Cleveland Browns a lowly 24th, and Cincinnati Bengals a couple spots behind at 27th.