While we are still a long way from Week One of the 2023 NFL season that hasn’t stopped people from making power rankings after the draft. The Pittsburgh Steelers killed the draft, addressing their top needs while also getting plenty of value for their picks. They have certainly improved their team, but despite this, one analyst, David Helman, doesn’t see them as one of the better teams in the league.
Writing for Fox Sports, Helman has the Steelers ranked 19th, notably behind teams such as the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, and Cleveland Browns. For why he has the Steelers at 19, Helman wrote that he was very impressed by the moves the team made in the offseason, but believes quarterback Kenny Pickett is still a question mark.
“It’s very fun to see how hard the Steelers are trying to help Kenny Pickett,” wrote Helman. “The offensive line added Isaac Seumalo in free agency and Broderick Jones in the draft. They traded for Allen Robinson and drafted Darnell Washington. The offense looks much more complete. They also attacked their weaknesses on defense, giving them such much-needed talent at cornerback. The jury is still out on Pickett, but the cast around him isn’t bad.”
It is true the team is trying to help Pickett, and that makes sense as he helped the Steelers go 7-2 in the back half of the season while showing significant improvement. The main way the Steelers decided to help him was by beefing up the offensive line. After having one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL the past few years, it should improve this season with the addition of guard Isaac Seumalo and either another year of Dan Moore Jr.’s development or with rookie Broderick Jones at left tackle.
The Steelers have a ton of weapons on offense, but it is up to offensive coordinator Matt Canada to scheme up ways for them to be successful, which is something that is easier said than done. Despite this, the rushing attack should be very good behind an improved offensive line and the addition of a blocking tight end in Darnell Washington.
While the jury is still out on Pickett, the Steelers have made it so that they won’t be relying on him. The team will win games this season, but they won’t be relying on the second-year starter to win. Pickett has also shown the ability to be able to win close games as he led four game-winning drives last season, but asking him to win games while throwing 40+ passes a game isn’t ideal.
The Steelers certainly don’t have the best team in the NFL, but I would argue with the additions they have made they have a top-15 team. I am honestly shocked that the Panthers and Saints are ranked ahead of the Steelers when Pittsburgh, one, beat both of them last season, and two, has a better overall roster.
The good news for the Steelers is that power rankings don’t really mean anything, so they can use this as bulletin board material as they gear up for the regular season and try and make a playoff push.