Even while on a much-needed bye week the Pittsburgh Steelers continue to tumble down the power rankings from NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus.
One week after sitting at No. 27 overall following a dismantling by the Philadelphia Eagles to head into the bye week with a whimper, the Steelers fall a spot this week to No. 28 overall in Hanzus’ power rankings despite not being in action over the bye week. The fall to No. 28 overall has the Steelers in between the likes of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Detroit Lions.
Sitting at 2-6 through nine weeks of the season, things are about as bleak as possible for the Steelers, who somehow were sellers AND buyers in last week’s NFL trade deadline, flipping third-year wide receiver Chase Claypool to Chicago for a second-round pick before then acquiring 30-year-old cornerback William Jackson III for a late-round pick swap in 2025.
Despite the moving and shaking, the Steelers are still a team with many holes, holes that weren’t plugged at the trade deadline and won’t be fixed anytime soon. The trade of Claypool creates another one, at least for the time being, as the team dealt away the slot receiver who was starting to become a reliable third-down target in recent weeks for rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett.
“The Chase Claypool era in Pittsburgh started with a bang and ended with a whimper. Last Tuesday, the Steelers traded the wide receiver to the Bears in exchange for a second-round pick,” Hanzus writes regarding the Steelers’ trade of Chase Claypool to the Bears. “It was a good return for GM Omar Khan, but Claypool’s exit underlined the disappointing nature of his final years in Pittsburgh after a breakout rookie season in 2020 that included 11 total touchdowns. Claypool’s production cooled considerably in the seasons since, but mediocre-to-bad quarterback play in Pittsburgh can’t be ignored when dissecting his numbers. With Claypool gone, rookie George Pickens and fourth-year pro Miles Boykin should be in line for more opportunities.”
The end of the Claypool era in Pittsburgh was rather disappointing, as Hanzus writes, as the third-year receiver with the seemingly rare combination of height, weight and speed couldn’t put it all together after his sensational rookie season. In the year and a half since, Claypool had some highs and very low lows, including the inexcusable mistake late in the game against the Minnesota Vikings, in which he signaled for a first down and was slow to get the football to the officials with time winding down, causing teammates to get upset with him.
Still, that combination of physical attributes is enticing, which is why the Bears sent the second-round pick to the Steelers for the former Notre Dame star, banking on him finding his game once again with a change of scenery and usage.
It was a win-win for both parties, especially for the Steelers, who received a second-round pick that could fall inside the top 40, which gives them plenty of ammo to rebuild on the fly through the draft. It won’t help the Steelers in 2022 though, especially with them buried near the bottom of the league in the weekly power rankings — at least for now.