Steelers Finish 22nd In Bleacher Report Power Rankings

For one final time this offseason, let’s talk about power rankings. A list of 32 that won’t matter a month from now but it’s interesting to see Bleacher Report rank the Steelers so low, coming in 22nd overall right before the start of training camp. The Steelers are no longer in or near the top ten, as they once were, but 22nd feels low compared to other power rankings that have placed them more middle-of-the-pack.

Here’s what the B/R team wrote regarding the Steelers’ placement:

“The Pittsburgh Steelers have quite a few things going for them. Running back Najee Harris ranked fourth in the league in rushing as a rookie. Keyed by a record-tying 22.5 sacks from 2021 Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt, the Steelers once again led the league in sacks last year.

But there’s also a massive question mark looming over the team at the game’s most important position. Whether it’s veteran Mitch Trubisky, rookie first-round pick Kenny Pickett or a mixture of the two, someone has the unenviable task of replacing maybe the best quarterback in franchise history in Ben Roethlisberger.”

Quarterback is one of many changes the Steelers made this summer, but it’s by far its most impactful one. Ben Roethlisberger retired leaving Pittsburgh in search of a new QB for the first time since 2004. They brought in three new names: Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett, and Chris Oladokun. Trubisky and Pickett will battle incumbent Mason Rudolph for the starting job with Trubisky the favorite heading into camp.

It may be an “unenviable” task but it’s a good fresh start for Trubisky, away from the chaos in Chicago and no longer blocked by a franchise QB as he was last year in Buffalo behind Josh Allen. Pittsburgh is the best place for him to try and revitalize his career with their stability, culture, and weapons at the skill positions. However, the Steelers’ offensive line remains a major question mark, even if it did receive upgrades this offseason in center Mason Cole and right guard James Daniels.

The Steelers will lean on their defense to compete in a tough AFC and AFC North. The power rankings reflect that. Bleacher Report has the Cincinnati Bengals third, the Baltimore Ravens eighth, and the Cleveland Browns 20th, though they will shoot up if Deshaun Watson misses less than half the season.

Three of the top five teams in the power rankings and six of the top ten hail from the AFC, making it the stronger and more competitive division this season. The AFC North race is likely to be close but the Steelers may be fighting for a Wild Card spot, not division crown, come season’s end. How they start the year against divisional opponents, the Bengals Week 1, the Browns Week 3, will set the tone for the season. Meaning the Steelers’ offense will quickly need to work through its growing pains while its defense needs to return to form.

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