With the 2021 NFL Draft now complete, a few individual player stat projections for the regular season have begun to surface. Notably, Mike Clay of ESPN.com has now released his annual post-draft stab at player projections for all 32 teams. With that, it’s time to look at what he has for several members of the Pittsburgh Steelers offense.
Starting with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Clay has him projected for 413 completions for 4,349 yards with 29 touchdowns and 13 interceptions on 634 total attempts. For comparison’s sake, Roethlisberger completed 399 of his 608 total pass attempts in 2020 for 3,803 yards, with 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Clay also has Roethlisberger projected for 26 rushes for 63 yards and a touchdown.
As for Steelers rookie running back Najee Harris, Clay has the team’s first round draft pick this year projected to have 223 rushes for 961 yards and seven touchdowns. Additionally, he has Harris down for 51 receptions for 385 yards and two touchdowns. That’s a total of 274 touches for Harris as a rookie for a total of 1,346 yards from scrimmage and a whopping nine touchdowns.
As for the Steelers’ top three wide receivers, Diontae Johnson, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Chase Claypool, Clay has all three with more than 900 yards receiving in 2021 and at least six receiving touchdowns for each. Clay has Johnson leading the Steelers in both receptions (95) and receiving yardage (1,017).
When it comes to Clay’s projections for the Steelers’ tight ends in 2021, he has Eric Ebron down for 51 receptions for 519 yards and five touchdowns. As for rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth, the Steelers’ second round draft pick this year, he has the Penn State product projected as having just 14 receptions for 145 yards and a touchdown.
With those primary Steelers offensive players recapped, it feels like Clay might be in the neighborhood with most of them. Obviously one would hope that he’s off on Roethlisberger’s interception prediction for starters. Additionally, one would also hope that Freiermuth’s 2021 rookie season receiving stat line comes in at a little better than what Clay has him down for.
After studying Clay’s 2021 projections for the Steelers’ offensive players below, let me know in the comments where you think he’s missed the mark and where you think he’s close to being spot on.