Visit NFL from the sidelines on the new Observer-Reporter site:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ranking the Steelers' top 25

We're in that dead period. You know the one; the time in between the end of mini-camp and the start of training camp.

There's just not a lot happening right now, especially since the NFL instituted a rookie salary cap. Heck, even the rookies are now signed.

So I'm going to start something new to pass the time. I'm going to rank the Steelers' top 25 players. Why 25? Why not? It's a nice round number and I'll do five each week until the start of training camp July 25.

So here's the first installment. As a side note, I'm not going to rank rookies since they haven't played an NFL game as of yet.

No. 25. Markus Wheaton, WR - Wheaton is expected to start this season, but he's not there yet. He has flashed the ability on the practice field but we haven't see it in a game as of yet. If the Steelers are going to be better than 8-8 this season, they need Wheaton to play his way into a much higher spot on this list.

No. 24. Mike Adams, OT - I know this one is going to draw some fire. But Adams is entering just his third NFL season. It's way too early to give up on him. He's running second team behind Marcus Gilbert at RT heading into training camp, but that could certainly change. The upside potential is still there and he's an excellent run blocker. Can he become a credible pass blocker? That remains to be seen.

No. 23. Cam Thomas, DE - Thomas is a big body and maybe the Steelers can coax some solid play out of him, but he lost his starting job at nose tackle in San Diego at the end of last season. Thomas is going to be in the mix at both defensive end and nose tackle, but he's going to be looking over his shoulder all season at second-round pick Stephon Tuitt.

No. 22. Jarvis Jones, OLB - The 2013 first-round draft pick was basically handed a starting job last season but lost it. He was thinking on the field too much in 2013 and it showed. Like Wheaton, if the Steelers are going to make a push for the playoffs in 2014, Jones has to push his ranking higher

No. 21. William Gay, CB -  If you believe, Gay was one of the best corners in the league in 2013. But I trust my eyes. Gay isn't nearly as bad as some fans would lead you to believe, but he's not one of the top corners in the league, either. He's a solid No. 3.


Anonymous said...

Wow, the fact that the Steelers will have 20 or so worse players than these on the roster explains a lot why they're stuck on 8-8.

BlackNGold said...

Wow, brilliant insight Anonymous 8:24. If you rank the top 25 on any team, there will be 28 players "worse" than them on the roster.

Patrick said...

it takes 53 men to win a championship, obviously

-Mike Tomlin

Steve-O said...

I like your first grouping of players, Dale. They're full of promise for the future but they've accomplished very little in the way of production. If I were nitpicking I would put Wheaton ahead of Adams only because he's been successful in his limited action. Adams had a significant opportunity and took a step back, which looks to be simple growing pains but nevertheless it was a step back. But of course I'm not a nit picker so I won't point that out.

Anonymous said...

Markus Wheaton had 12 balls thrown at him. 8 were catchable and he dropped 2 of them. that's not successfull steve-o.

You're reading PFF wrong if you believe they think gay is one of the best corners in the league. They have eyes and probably make a lot of money for their evaluations. When you see the grading system they use you need to realize it's them showing the viewer this is how good or bad this player did with the snaps and situations they were put in on the field. it's not a list in order of who the best players are it's a list of who did how good or bad with the opportunity they were given. Gay apparently did good.

They view him as an average corner. Otherwise he would be green on this list

Anonymous 8:24 said...

"Wow, brilliant insight Anonymous 8:24. If you rank the top 25 on any team, there will be 28 players "worse" than them on the roster."

My point was that players 21-25 are pretty unimpressive, so having so many players worse than them points to the overall weakness of the roster.

I think these players would probably rank at least 10 spots lower on San Fran or Seattle.

Dale Lolley said...

Oh, I completely agree about Gay. But according to their "rankings" he was one of the best in the league last season.

Adams hasn't had what I'd call a "significant" opportunity. He got four starts last season. Yes, he struggled, but the whole offense was struggling at that point without a healthy Miller and Bell missing for most of that as well.

As for anonymous' statement, there's upside on this list for the Steelers. Take a look at some of the other teams in the league and their players rated 25-35, not just what most consider the two best rosters in the league right now.

I'm also not ranking rookies, and it wouldn't be a stretch to see two or three Steelers rookies jump high onto this list this year.