With the annual OTA sessions now getting underway around the NFL this week, we are sure to see more power rankings being released from the major media outlets. On Monday, in fact, Peter King took a stab at his post-draft power rankings as part of his weekly ‘Football Morning in America’ column.
Long after listing his top five teams — The Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams, and Green Bay Packers — King has the Pittsburgh Steelers ranked 23rd overall. Below is his summation of why he has the Steelers ranked so low in May.
If the coach was anyone but Mike Tomlin, I’d think of the 2022 Steelers in the 5-12 range. They still might be in that neighborhood, because for the first time since training camp 2004, there’s no Ben Roethlisberger, and significant questions about whether Mitchell Trubisky or Kenny Pickett can be a good NFL passer. The offense should run through Najee Harris. His 307 carries as a rookie in 2021 could easily graduate to 330 in 2022. For the Steelers to be close to good, the defense will have to be better than 24th in the league in yards allowed. The talent is too good for that, and new coordinator Teryl Austin will be under pressure to make sure it’s a better unit.
Is King’s ranking of the Steelers a surprise? Well, I wasn’t surprised by it, and I think his last two sentences really sum up the chances of the 2022 Steelers well. In short, the 2022 Steelers will likely go as far their defense will carry them.
The Steelers set to have such a young offense in 2022, that includes a huge question mark when it comes to the quarterback position, is sure to lead to the team being ranked outside of the top 16 teams in the NFL in annual offseason and preseason power rankings. Sure, the Steelers addressed their offensive line during the offseason and that was very much needed. Was it enough, however?
Yes, the Steelers’ 2022 offense is indeed expected to run through second year running back Najee Harris, as it should be. Even so, the team will still need above average situational play from the quarterback position, in addition to way above average play from the defense, to be able to make a run at the AFC North crown in 2022.
Fans probably don’t won’t to hear it at this point of the offseason but be prepared for the Steelers to be ranked outside of the top 20 in power rankings from now and the start of the regular season. The 2022 Steelers should have plenty of doubters to prove wrong.