Despite a draft class haul rivaling some of the best in the NFL, one in which key positions of need were addressed and high-end talent was added, the Pittsburgh Steelers remained in the same spot they were pre-draft in NFL.com Dan Hanzus’s power rankings.
Entering the draft, the Steelers sat at No. 15 overall in the power rankings. Coming out of the three-day draft in Kansas City, after adding the likes of tackle Broderick Jones, cornerbacks Joey Porter Jr. and Cory Trice Jr., defensive tackle Keeanu Benton and tight end Darnell Washington, the Steelers remained at No. 15 in Hanzus’ power rankings, which were released Monday.
“The lack of consistency on the offensive line has held the Steelers back since the end of the Ben Roethlisberger era. Perhaps the team’s decision to trade up in the first round to secure Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones at 14th overall will be remembered as the start of a new era of success in the trenches,” Hanzus wrote regarding the Steelers’ draft class haul and ranking for NFL.com. “This is all part of a pattern in recent seasons, as Pittsburgh continues to use the top of his draft board to build a foundation for the offense. In 2021, it was running back Najee Harris; last year, it was Kenny Pickett; and now, a blind-side blocker for the young quarterback. The goal is to develop and contend at the same time.”
In the last three drafts the Steelers have certainly invested heavily in the offense, at least at in the first round or two. They have landed some foundational pieces in running back Najee Harris, tight end Pat Freiermuth, quarterback Kenny Pickett, wide receiver George Pickens and now offensive tackle Broderick Jones.
That fits with the style of play the Steelers are very clearly trying to transition to. It might not be flashy, that’s for sure, but it fits what Pittsburgh wants to do. Based on the way the Steelers closed the second half of the 2022 season, it’s a winning formula.
Investing in the trenches, the backfield, quarterback and out wide, the Steelers have acquired foundational pieces at key areas offensively throughout the draft. That doesn’t even cover what the franchise has done in free agency, bringing in linemen like Mason Cole, James Daniels, Isaac Seumalo and Nate Herbig in back-to-back offseasons. The Steelers have invested heavily in the trenches ensuring that the franchise quarterback in Pickett and the workhorse running back in Harris have every opportunity to succeed.
We’ll see how it plays out on the field in 2023 and beyond, but it was a bit surprising to see the Steelers remain in the same spot in Hanzus’ power rankings despite having one of the top drafts in the NFL.