The votes are now in for 2021 and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is no longer considered a top one- or two-tier NFL quarterback.
Mike Sando of The Athletic released his eighth annual NFL QB Tier rankings on Wednesday and his poll of 50 league insiders resulted in Roethlisberger being ranked 16th overall and the second overall player in the third tier behind Las Vegas raiders quarterback Derek Carr. Second-year quarterbacks Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow are two of the 15 others ranked ahead of Roethlisberger. This marks the first year that Roethlisberger finished outside the top two tiers.
Of the 50 votes, Roethlisberger received just one Tier 1 ranking and 19 Tier 2 rankings. 27 of the remaining 30 votes had him as a Tier 3 quarterback. Last year Roethlisberger was ranked eighth overall and as a Tier 2 quarterback.
“They lost their run game, had a couple guys hurt on defense, and it was up to Ben to carry them over the final five games, and he was terrible,” a defensive coordinator said, according to Sando’s recent article. “He needs help at this stage of his career.”
The breakdown of Sando’s 50 league insider voters this year includes seven general managers, five head coaches, 11 coordinators, 15 executives, seven QB coaches and five others working in front offices or in other coaching capacities.
Not all 50 voters were extremely down on Roethlisberger for 2021, however.
“The way their season ended created bias in how people view the Steelers,” one coach said, per Sando’s article. “Their defense got absolutely shredded by Cleveland. Ben completed 47 passes for more than 500 yards and four touchdowns. The pure player, he’s a guy that can put a team on his back and win every game on the schedule.”
Roethlisberger, who is about to start his 18th season in the NFL, had the Steelers sitting at 11-0 last season and he did so with the offense not being able to run the football well at all. The veteran quarterback didn’t play overly well in the team’s next four games, of which they lost three. He threw for 3,803 yards last season and 33 touchdowns. While he did throw 10 interceptions last season, three of them came in the team’s Week 7 road win against the Tennessee Titans.
With Matt Canada now taking over as the Steelers offensive coordinator in 2021 and the team selecting running back Najee Harris in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, in addition to retooling the offensive line, it will be interesting to see if Roethlisberger can return to being one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL. If he can do that, the Steelers should be able to make the playoffs and then see if they can make some sort of championship run from there.