Roethlisberger underrated? Absolutely
Frequent visitors to this blog should be well aware of how I feel about offseason rankings of this and that. They are dreamed up by TV and web site execs to keep people watching and visiting their sites.
But the NFL Network's top 100 players - which is also run on NFL.com - is voted on by the players. And Ben Roethlisberger ranked 61st.
That's right, 61st.
Does anyone in their right mind actually believe that Roethlisberger is the 61st best player in the NFL right now. Does anybody think if all the teams were dissolved and there was a redraft of players by a new league that Roethlisberger would be the 61st player selected?
Maybe in fantasy football. But in the real world, Roethlisberger is one of the 20 best players and most valuable players in the league.
Yet on this list, there are 11 quarterbacks ranked ahead of him. Seriously.
Yes, Roethlisberger is now 31 and missed three games in 2012 with a rib/clavicle injury. Yet he still threw for over 3,200 yards with 26 touchdown passes and just eight interceptions - all without any threat of a running game.
That got him ranked two spots ahead of Stephen Tulloch. Who's Stephen Tulloch, you might ask? He's a linebacker for the Detroit Lions. Yes, those same Lions who make the playoffs as often as your Pittsburgh Pirates.
Knowing Roethlisberger, this slight will fuel him. He was having an outstanding season in 2013 before suffering the injury and wasn't the same player after coming back.
But Roethlisberger is as competitive as anyone I've ever covered. He won't say it publicly, but he'll use this slight to come back with an even better year.Read full post: Roethlisberger underrated? Absolutely
Players I expect to make a leap forward for Steelers
A lot has been made of the Steelers' losses this offseason, and certainly there have been more than a few.
But the Steelers also have a number of young players poised to make big steps forward in 2013 who could help this team return to the playoffs.
Here are some guys I expect big things from in 2013 who didn't necessarily star in 2012:
1. David DeCastro/Mike Adams - I have combined these two because injuries derailed their rookie season, though both played enough for the Steelers to feel comfortable handing them starting jobs heading into 2013. DeCastro will line up at right guard and should be a fixture there for years to come. Adams will compete with Marcus Gilbert for the left tackle position, with the loser of that battle slated for right tackle. Adams is the more physical run blocker of the two, but he's also better suited to play left tackle.
2. Steve McLendon - McLendon has been on fans' radar for the past two seasons but averaged just over 10 snaps per game in 2012 playing behind Casey Hampton. That will change in 2013 as McLendon is slated to take over the nose tackle position. He's a different style of nose tackle than Hampton, playing more like Chris Hoke. That could add up to more pass pressure from the nose position, but will the run defense suffer? We'll see.
3. Curtis Brown - With fellow 2011 draft classmate Cortez Allen headed to the starting lineup, some are labeling Brown, who was actually selected ahead of Allen in the draft, a bust. No so fast. This is a make-or-break year for Brown and he knows it. He could win the slot job in a battle with William Gay and Josh Victorian, though Gay certainly has the experience factor in his favor. Brown, however, might have the best hands of the Steelers' defensive backs not named Troy Polamalu.
4. Adrian Robinson - All you need to know about Robinson is that when the team's offensive tackles needed somebody to work with on stopping outside rushers, they grabbed Robinson to work with. He's not going to be a starter and he needs to figure out what to do on special teams, but the young man has shown flashes of pass rushing skills. If he can put it all together, he could be a valuable backup.
5. Robert Golden - The Steelers liked what they saw from Golden enough that they felt comfortable passing on a number of highly rated safeties in the draft. He can play corner as well in a pinch. A smart kid who oozes with confidence, Golden could be the heir apparent to Ryan Clark.Read full post: Players I expect to make a leap forward for Steelers
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