Steelers' starters don't impress PFF

Pro Football Focus has ranked all 32 teams based on their projected top 12 players on both sides of the ball, and it has the Pittsburgh Steelers near the bottom of the NFL.

The Steelers are No. 27 and are behind teams such as the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans. They are just one spot ahead of the perpetually rebuilding Oakland Raiders.


"The team simply has not drafted well, failing to replace key personnel when they needed to, and then persisting with struggling players long past the point they should have given up on them," Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus wrote.

Players received one of eight rankings, ranging from elite to rookie, which is essentially an incomplete for these purposes.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, wide receiver Antonio Brown and strong safety Troy Polamalu were the only Steelers who were classified as high-quality starters, which is one level below elite.

Of the starters, which didn't include rookie inside linebacker Ryan Shazier, 13 of the 23 are considered average to below average starters by Pro Football Focus.

Falling into the latter category are cornerback Ike Taylor, wide receiver Markus Wheaton, outside linebacker Jarvis Jones and tight end Matt Spaeth.

Wide receiver Lance Moore, center Maurkice Pouncey, guards Ramon Foster and David DeCastro, defensive end Cameron Heyward, linebacker Lawrence Timmons and outside linebacker Jason Worilds are rated as above average starters by Pro Football Focus.

"Troy Polamalu remains a high-quality starter, one of three the Steelers project to start on both sides of the ball (12.5 percent). Outside of him, the secondary features four players who grade as average at best. Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown are the other two high-quality starters, and they might be the only players keeping the Steelers competitive into December," Monson wrote.