The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Do you agree with the NFL Network’s rankings for Minkah Fitzpatrick and T.J. Watt in the Top 100 Players list?
The NFL Network completed its programming running down the top 100 players for the 2020 season. This year, only three members of the Pittsburgh Steelers made the list, and all of them were on the defensive side of the ball, those being the three who ended the 2019 season on the first-team All-Pro list: Cameron Heyward. Minkah Fitzpatrick, and T.J. Watt.
Heyward, the veteran of the group, finished with the least prestigious ranking, coming in at 84. While that is a small improvement from his ranking a year ago, he was voted as a top-50 player in the 2018 edition of the list.
But we’re not discussing Heyward’s rank right now. The focus of this article is on the rankings revealed yesterday, including Fitzpatrick being ranked 35th. In 14 games with the Steelers last season, he intercepted five passes, forced a fumble, and recovered two others, scoring two touchdowns. So many of his contributions are not reflected in the stat sheet, but you see it in the defensive numbers and rankings.
Then there was Watt, who finished third in the voting for Defensive Player of the Year last season after posting 14.5 sacks with eight forced fumbles, four recoveries, and two interceptions, a true breakout season. That was enough to earn him the rank of 25. Fair or not fair—what do you say?