Football fans love rankings. Well actually, they hate them. Because they never agree with them. But they do create fodder. And debate. Two things I live for.
Take for instance, Pete Prisco from CBS Sports. He ranked the top 100 players in the NFL this week. It was so bad, Prisco should lose his Pro Football Hall of Fame vote. His football acumen is tiny. He didn't rank Minkah in his top 100. Or Big Ben. But he included Bud Dupree and Juju. Go figure.
I have created my own set of rankings. The PM Team Steelers top 50. They will hold up to the scrutiny. I've talked to former GMs. Former coaches. I've watched film. In the name of journalistic integrity. And fairness.
1. TJ Watt OLB-An All-Pro. The 2nd best pass rusher in the NFL.
2. Minkah Fitzpatrick S-Answered the Steelers prayers last season. And is only getting better.
3. Cam Heyward DE-Getting better with age. As solid as they come.
4. Ben Roethlisberger QB-Big Ben will prove in 2020 he's still a top 10 QB.
5. David DeCastro G-A rock at right guard. Consistent.
6. Devin Bush ILB-He will take off a like rocket in 2020. Expect big things. Breakout season.
7. Stephon Tuitt DE-He was having his best season before getting injured in 2019.
8. Eric Ebron TE-He clicked with Andrew Luck in IND. A touchdown machine.
9. Steven Nelson CB-Barely noticed him on game-days. Because he wasn't giving up big plays. Or penalties.
10. Joe Haden CB-Up and down in 2019. Cornerback is a young man's game. Unless you're Darrell Green.
11. Mike Hilton CB-Underrated slot man. Especially as a sneaky blitzer.
12. Bud Dupree OLB-Bud can thank TJ Watt for finishing this high on the list.
13. Diontae Johnson WR-Led rookie WRs in receptions. Route-running is there. Next up, chemistry with Big Ben.
14. Chris Boswell K-Was money in 2019. Awful in 2018.
15. Matt Feiler RT-Unheralded tackle. Will continue to get better.
16. Juju Smith-Schuster WR-He's a #2 WR.
17. Tyson Alualu DL-He doesn't get enough credit for the way he played after Tuitt's injury.
18. Al Villaneuva LT-He misses Mike Munchak.
19. Bince Williams ILB-He's good at stopping the run. That helps in a division with Baltimore.
20. Maurkice Pouncey C-He's an all-time Steeler. But age and wear-and-tear have caught up to him.
21. James Conner RB -Steelers best RB by default. Wish he could stay healthy. Don't think he will.
22. Stefen Wiesnewski LG-He knows his role. And does it well.
23. Cam Sutton CB-Liked what I saw in limited action.
24. Vance McDonald TE-Maybe Big Ben can revive his career.
25. Terrell Edmunds S-Going the way of Jarvis Jones and Artie Burns. Another 1st round bust.
26. Chase Claypool WR-Size and speed. But will he get enough offensive snaps in 2020?
27. James Washington WR-Led Steelers in receiving yards. But isn't a complete WR.
28. Zach Banner OL-Is he a future LT? I'd like to see him a get a shot at some point.
29. Kerrith Whyte RB-I'd like to see him get a shot. But coaches seem to disagree with me.
30. Derrick Watt FB-I'm only ranking him this high because of special teams contributions. Bad signing.
31. Jordan Dangerfield ST-One of the Steelers core special teams players.
32. Kevin Dotson G-The sleeper in the 2020 Steelers draft class.
33. Chris Wormley DL-Ravens insiders haven't painted a pretty picture.
34. Benny Snell Football RB-Too slow to be a #1 RB. Is a goal-line guy?
35. Ola Adeniyi OLB-A preseason legend. Will it ever translate to real games?
36. Ulysees Gilbert ILB-Another guy who looked good in exhibition games.
37. Justin Layne CB-Tomlin raved about him. But didn't get on field. And Steelers can't draft and develop cornerbacks.
38. Chuks Okorafor OL-Forgotten man on the OL.
39. Alex Highsmith OLB-Redshirt year for small college rookie.
40. Jaylen Samuels RB-I don't see a fit. And I don't know what he's good at it. Other than catching the ball.
41. Deon Cain WR-I thought he showed flashes in 2019. With bad QBs.
42. Isaiah Buggs DL-Important year for him. Can he help fill Hargrave's shoes?
43. Anthony McFarland RB-Let's see if he can be that home run hitter the Steelers want.
44. Tuzar Skipper OLB-Maybe the 2019 preseason was a mirage. Because he got cut.
45. Mason Rudolph QB-Classic Big 12 QB. Landry Jones all over again. Big liability as Big Ben's insurance.
46. Daniel McCullers DT-How is he still on the team? After all these years.
47. Duck Hodges QB-It was fun while it lasted.
48. Marcus Allen S-What happens if Minkah gets injured?
49. Jordan Berry P-Expensive punter. Who isn't very good.
50. Ryan Switzer WR-Works out with Big Ben. So he has that going for him.