Thursday, July 10, 2014

Top 25, the final five

Here are the top five players on the Steelers' top 25 list. By now, you guys (and girls) all know the parameters. So here we go:

No. 5. Troy Polamalu. I've seen all of the guesses on who would be the top five. This is where I put Polamalu. He's not what he once was, but he's still an impactful player. In fact, he's probably still the player opposing offenses fear the most for the Steelers because of his playmaking ability and with the way he can disrupt a game. But there's no doubt he's slowed down. He had to play more in the box last year than he has in quite some time. Will the addition of Mike Mitchell and Ryan Shazier alleviate that and allow him to freelance more? That should be the case.

No. 4 Lawrence Timmons. Timmons once again led the team in tackles and was disruptive at times in 2013. But he had to cover too much for the constant merry-go-round beside him once Larry Foote was lost for the season in the opener. With speedy Ryan Shazier playing beside him, I expect Timmons to match or exceed the career-high seven sacks he had in 2009. If he can do that, get his 120-130 tackles and pick off a couple of passes, the Pro Bowl awaits.

No. 3 Cameron Heyward. Heyward was arguably the best 3-4 defensive lineman in the NFL last season. And he's still learning the position. He might not put up the big statistics of Polamalu or Timmons, but he'll be even more important in this defense this season if he can consistently draw double teams. And when he isn't doubled, if he gets to the QB, that will be a big bonus. Heyward, like Timmons, could burst onto the national scene this season.

No. 2 Antonio Brown. Brown is now a two-time team MVP. He does a little bit of everything for this team's offense. The Steelers would like to lighten his load a little bit and get him off punt returns, which might finally happen this year with the addition of Dri Archer. That won't affect Brown's overall value, however. He's still the focal point of the offense.

No. 1 Ben Roethlisberger. If the Steelers had snuck into the playoffs last season as the sixth widlcard, nobody would have relished the matchup because Roethlisberger was playing some of the best football of his career. He's bought into the Todd Haley system and they have a good give-and-take. Roethlisberger is getting rid of the ball more quickly, and Haley is giving him more freedom to run the no-huddle. The cast will be different this season, but Roethlisberger makes it go.

24 comments:

drinkyourmilkshake said...

Winner, Winner, chicken dinner..... Do I win a prize? If not I'll gladly continue to take the free blog. Thanks Dale!

Anonymous said...

Like the list and agree with most placements on it. I hope Pouncey lives up to his top 10 billing and his big contract and doesn't become Woodley #2.

Mrs Isaac Redman

Patrick said...

j.j. watt disagrees with your assessment of heyward

LexingtonLegend said...

I had a hard time picking between Heyward and Timmons at 3 but went with Timmons because of his tackle numbers.

Anonymous said...

Here's my "Ranking Our Assets" list (included rookies as marked by *)

B. Roethlisberger
A. Brown
C. Heyward
D. DeCastro
L. Timmons
T. Polamalu
J. Worilds
M. Pouncey
L. Bell
R. Shazier*
M. Mitchell
H. Miller
C. Allen
S. Tuitt*
J. Jones
K. Beachum
I. Taylor
L. Blount
M. Wheaton
L. Moore
R. Foster
M. Gilbert
W. Gay
D. Archer*
S. McLendon
M. Adams
B. Gradkowski
S. Suisham
C. Thomas
A. Moats
S. Thomas
M. Bryant*
W. Johnson

Dale Lolley said...

Heyward's numbers were very comparable to Watt's last season, especially when you consider he didn't start the first few games.
Yes, Watt had more sacks. But Houston plays its defense different than the Steelers.
Heyward actually had more batted passes than Mr. Finger Wag.

Anonymous said...

J.J. Watt is the best player in all of football. Cameron Heyward isn't even top 5 at his specific position.

You're only going off sacks, tackles and batted passes? shame on you. there are many more hidden stats and there's this great website called Profootballfocus.com where people watch game tape and give you a collection of hidden stats such as qb hits, hurries and defensive stops which i would argue are more important than a simple tackle.

DD said...

Couldn't agree more with the top 5 Well done!!

BlackNGold said...

Anon 11:02,

Profootballfocus.com also says that William Gay is a top 5 CB so don't take they're analysis as the gospel

BlackNGold said...

So Dale, the Steelers are being mentioned as one of the four teams that may be interested in Andre Johnson. I don't see that but what's your input on it?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, gotta go with Patrick here. It's not for the media accolades, Watt can flat out play! When they're in base 3-4 he's a straight beast

Also don't think Heyward is better than Muhammad Wilkerson either. And yes, he's in a hybrid defense, but also when they're in the 3-4 he's unstoppable. I do think he's better than Jordan Cameron though. Wow, that 2011 draft had amazing talent at 3-4 DE

Patrick said...

Anon at 11 02 is not me. And I forgot about Wilkerson. He's comparable as well.

Dale Lolley said...

Please don't give me the ProFootballFocus stuff. That's a bunch of guys sitting on their couch in England trying to judge a game without knowing a player's duties on a given play. They guess a lot.

That site is useful for certain things - plays run in certain directions, snaps, etc. That's about it. Outside of that, it's folly.

Watt is a very good player. He's hardly the best player in football. And I didn't say THE best 3-4 end in the league. I said arguably. Talk to me after this season about Heyward. He'll be in the conversation.

Haven't heard anything in regards to A. Johnson.

Anonymous said...

What they do is better than looking at stats on paper. Their actually watching every player. Ask Evan Mathis how he feels PFF does. NFL players praise PFF for their accuracy.

Go through their free agency signings and look at the players who they graded in the green and red you'll find that those player assessments are pretty accurate too in relation to coach signings. Ofc Ziggy Hood signing is just a shot in the dark, jacksonville go figure.

PFF must have overrated J.J. Watt when he won the NFL defensive player of the year award as well. Pretty sure he was their highest graded player that year.

Can't imagine how many pro bowl, all pro and hall of famers that were all hype back in the day and just made those teams because of reputation. Even tho it still happens today, Pouncey. At least we see that he's not that caliber of player thanks to PFF.

Also knock it off with the William Gay stuff. PFF never said he's a top 5 corner even tho he's ranked there. players get ranked high based on how well they did in the limited situations they were given all the time. He's not listed on their top 100 and they're completely aware he's only our slot corner for a reason.

I like your blog Dale but the knocks on PFF are unnecessary. It's almost similar to the "oh you can't believe anything you read on wikipedia" argument.

- Anonymous pretending to be Patrick signing off

Anonymous said...

if the steelers sign Velasco come monday/tuesday would that mean they're concerned about the pouncey situaition?

i would think so

Anonymous said...

I'm sure jag players elevated by some blokes grading really do love PFF. And I was kinda excited about the site when it first came out, but gave up on them before they went PPV. If their snap logs were woefully inaccurate, how can you possibly trust the grades that were being misapplied? And that's assuming they know what they're looking at from a futbol/assignment sense. Which is not evident or even likely.

What I most distrust about PFF is the self-aggrandizing over their allegedly accuracy, when there is no small amount of doubt/skepticism. And that I believe they really do believe their own gloss. Not unlike Football Outsiders, seems they intuitively decide what they think will best tell them what they want to learn, build a model for it, and when the results spit out clunky/chunky data, rather than refining or going back to the drawing board, just throw up their hands and say, 'must be true, cuz that's what the data says.' Not unlike the Witch Test in MP's Holy Grail.

Someone like Dresen over at PFR at least understands this with his AV model. He knows it's not an exact reflection of reality, but the players should still fit loosely within their residing range. Ballpark, and refineable. With PFF, they just aimless plow forward. You can have it, but I wouldn't take it for free.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 1:15 PM just said a whole lot without saying anything at all.

ECSteel said...

Funny, I was just thinking the same exact thing about Anonymous pretending to be Patrick...

Patrick said...

I wouldn't agree there is an argument. Watt is the best 3-4 lineman in the nfl and then there is a second tier, which maybe Heyward is in along with people like Wilkerson. I'd even argue Wilkerson is better than Heyward at this point, but that is a matter of semantics.

Will be interesting to see if Watt gets a contract first, which will likely be huge. If Heyward is playing that well, can the Steeler pay him Watt-like money? Could be a problem.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 1:15 PM just said a whole lot without saying anything at all.

Yes, I only wish the Royal Society of DeVry reconsiders your exceptional dissertation on the merits of PFF. Entries in the comment section of a blog absolutely should be accepted as both peer review AND getting published. After all, it is open to scrutiny; and the little button at the bottom does say 'Publish', does it not? Two birds, one GED. Best of luck to you.

Anonymous said...

I like PFF. They aren't perfect but they are the best scouting available to fans on the internet.

Comparing Cam Heyward to JJ Watt is crazy. Can't even take that seriously.

Dale Lolley said...

Here's the last thing I am going to say about the whole PFF thing. Their top 100 players doesn't have a QB listed until No. 43.

Their top QB in the league? Philip Rivers. Enough said.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Dale but somehow you completely missed Peyton Manning listed at #3.

Dale Lolley said...

OK. Missed Manning. But the next QB was Rivers. Rivers! Sorry. That completely ruins anything they have to say.
Tom Brady was 90th.