Peter King Places Steelers In Middle Of His 2023 Power Rankings

It’s a Power Rankings Monday around the Internet. Like Pro Football Focus, NBC’s Peter King included his 2023 power rankings in his Football Morning in America column. There, he ranked the Pittsburgh Steelers smack dab in the middle, 16th overall, with an explanation about the Steelers’ evolving secondary:

“NFL position group with the most surprising 2023 makeover: the Steelers’ secondary, with corners Patrick Peterson and Joey Porter Jr. and safety Keanu Neal. Every one of those is a double take.”

King has Pittsburgh placed in the “If All Goes Right” tier with the likes of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, and Los Angeles Chargers.

Pittsburgh had considerable turnover in its defensive backs room this offseason. The first shoe to drop was losing CB Cam Sutton, who secured a three-year, $33 million deal to leave the Steelers for the Detroit Lions. Reportedly, Pittsburgh’s offer wasn’t in the same realm. They replaced him with veteran Patrick Peterson, a potentially questionable scheme fit but veteran pedigree player.

Keanu Neal replaced the departed Terrell Edmunds at strong safety. Their skill sets are similar, box hitters, though Neal is older and not as athletic as Edmunds, who left to take a one-year deal with the cross-state Philadelphia Eagles. At slot corner, the team signed Chandon Sullivan during draft weekend to give depth at a very thin position.

And in the draft, Pittsburgh spent two of its seven picks on cornerbacks, drafting Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr. at #32 and Purdue’s Cory Trice Jr. at #241. Getting both players at each of their spots were a surprise. Porter was in contention to be the Steelers’ pick at #17 but fell out of the first round while Trice had medical concerns that pushed him down the board.

It’s a lot of change in one season that disrupts the continuity the Steelers’ secondary has had over the last two seasons. Perhaps the group get better overall, time will tell, but it could create early-season growing pains like it did for the offensive line throughout the first half of 2022.

Sitting atop King’s power rankings are the Philadelphia Eagles, ahead of the Super Bowl champs Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs come in second place. Around the AFC North, the Cincinnati Bengals are 3rd, the Baltimore Ravens 7th, and the Cleveland Browns 17th, one spot behind the Steelers.

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