ESPN Ranks Steelers 21st In Latest Power Rankings; Calls Okorafor Biggest Offseason Winner

On Tuesday morning, ESPN’s NFL Nation staff released their current power rankings after the 2022 NFL Draft and the main free agency stage. They also listed the player on each team they felt benefited the most from the draft. The Steelers were listed at No. 21, one spot lower than their post-free agency ranking. The player who they expect to benefit the most is OT Chukwuma Okorafor.

ESPN’s Brooke Pryor wrote:

“Okorafor gets his name in bold, but Dan Moore Jr . also qualifies as a player who benefitted from the Steelers’ draft. The team didn’t address the tackle spot through an external signing in free agency or via the draft, all but solidifying its confidence in Okorafor and Moore . As a rookie, Moore started every single game and showed signs of being the left tackle of the future, while Okorafor had an average season. Either position could’ve benefitted from an upgrade this offseason, but that didn’t happen, so Okorafor and Moore won’t have their spots threatened.”

While he’s not expected to start, the Steelers did address the offensive tackle position in free agency, bringing in Trent Scott as a free agent last week. Scott has 19 starts through four seasons in the league, although he projects as a likely swing tackle for the Steelers. Still, it’s noteworthy that Pittsburgh found it necessary to bring in another offensive tackle with Moore, Okorafor and Joe Haeg in the fold.

Personally, I believe the player who benefitted most from the draft would be LB Devin Bush. Pittsburgh signed Myles Jack in free agency, but they didn’t bring in any other outside free agents at middle linebacker, nor did they draft anyone at the position or even bring in an undrafted free agent. Bush had his fifth-year option declined, but he will have the opportunity to prove he deserves a new contract, just as OLB Bud Dupree did in 2019.

The Steelers moved down a spot in the power rankings due to the New Orleans Saints moving up two spots to No. 20. The Saints drafted WR Chris Olave and OT Trevor Penning while signing S Tyrann Mathieu and WR Jarvis Landry after the draft, which ESPN deemed impressive enough to give them a boost in the rankings.

It’s not surprising to see the Steelers listed toward the bottom 15 teams in the league due to their uncertainty at quarterback this season. It’s not known whether or not Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett or even Mason Rudolph could be the Week One starter in Cincinnati, and despite bringing in Mason Cole and James Daniels, there is still some questions about the offensive line (although there’s no doubt it’s much improved from where it was last season). As for the rest of the AFC North, the Bengals placed No. 6 in ESPN’s rankings, while the Ravens ended up at No. 10 and the Browns were at No. 17.

Let us know in the comments below if you think ESPN got the Steelers’ ranking right.

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