While there is still a lot of offseason left, it is also true that much of the heavy lifting has already been done. Several hundred new players will enter the talent pool at the end of next month, but the comings and goings of free agency in the first couple of weeks do tell some of the most important stories of that season.
That’s why it’s usually around this time that the outlets start churning out the power rankings again, and earlier this week, we got the latest update from Dan Hanzus, who handles the power rankings for NFL.com, posting his first since the end of the Super Bowl.
He might be the only person in the world, though, who thinks the Pittsburgh Steelers rank the same then as they did now, considering the fact that they have lost more than half a dozen starters since then. He had them ranked 10th back then, and 10th now, writing:
Ben Roethlisberger is back for one more ride, so now the Steelers just have to cross their fingers and hope the offense’s grim late-season slide was more of a team-wide meltdown than a sneak peek at a crash-and-burn decline for the 39-year-old quarterback. Big Ben got good news with the re-signing of JuJu Smith-Schuster, whose remarkably soft market in free agency led to a Pittsburgh return on a prove-it deal. A wide receiver room of JuJu, Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool profiles as one of the better groups in the league.
To be fair, it doesn’t look like most teams in his power rankings moved. Of the top 10 teams, only three of them are ranked differently than they were a month ago, with the Cleveland Browns leapfrogging the Seattle Seahawks and the Los Angeles Rams.
As for the rest of the division, the Browns rank seventh now after the minor jump. The Baltimore Ravens rank fifth, as they did previously, with Hanzus focusing on their need to address the wide receiver position and, to date, their failures to be able to do so successfully. The Cincinnati Bengals dropped one spot, going from 29th to 30th.
Where would you rank the Steelers right now? I’m seeing a lot of commenters suggesting that they expect this to be a losing season, the team’s first since 2003, so obviously that would imply that they are not a top 10 team. Frankly, even I’m not sure they belong in the top 10 right now.