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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Top 25 Steelers/ 11-15

Here is the continuation of the Steelers' top 25 list. Again, a reminder, this does not include rookies, several of whom could jump onto this list this season.

No. 15. Ike Taylor, CB. Yes, Ike had a bad first half last season. That will happen when you're being matched against the A.J. Greens and Calvin Johnsons of the world with virtually no safety help. But there's little doubt that Ike is slowing down a little. He rebounded to play better in the second half, particularly in the final month of the season. The Steelers asked him to take a pay cut and Ike accepted. He said he was OK with it, but then ripped the move on the Jim Rome Show last week. So he's got a chip on his shoulder. That could mean he bounces back with one more solid season in 2014.

No. 14. Lance Moore, WR. Yes, Moore hasn't yet played a down for the Steelers, but Ben Roethlisberger is raving about Moore's ability to find the open area. Moore had just 37 receptions for 457 yards and two scores last season in New Orleans, but in 2012, he caught 65 passes for 1,041 yards and six scores. He's just 30 and could approach those numbers again this season.

No. 13. LeGarrette Blount, RB. Another player who hasn't yet played a down for the Steelers but who will make a big impact in 2014. Blount averaged 5.0 yards per carry for New England last season (153-772) with seven touchdowns and then had 172 yards and four touchdowns in 29 postseason carries. His career average per carry is 4.7 yards. He and LeVeon Bell will be options 1 and 1A in the Steelers' rushing attack.

No. 12. Kelvin Beachum, LT. This is a pretty high ranking for Beachum, but he handles one of the most important positions on the field, perhaps the most important one that doesn't actually handle the ball. The Steelers went 8-4 with Beachum at left tackle in 2013. He's not going to amaze you with his power or speed, but he's a solid technician who gets the job done. And he's still improving.

No. 11. Heath Miller, TE. This ranking for Miller is actually lower than where many would have him, but he just played OK in 2013 as he continued to recover from a serious knee injury suffered at the end of the 2013 season when he was the team MVP. Miller has looked good in OTAs and mini-camp and looks more like the player he was in 2012 rather than the shell of himself than he was in 2013. He could easily push his way back into the top 10 this season.


Anonymous Brian said...

I think the fact that Ike is still on the team is a huge show of loyalty. He must know that even if his feelings are hurt about the money. Great teammate, healthy, quality starter and all that, but I think he was overrated even in his prime.

Steve-O said...

It's hard to argue with your rankings Dale. It'll be interesting to see how many carries Blount takes away from Bell. Late last season Bell seemed to get better as the game went on. I wonder if pulling him out will kill their rhythm.

Anonymous said...

Ike has almost always been underrated. He has done a mostly good job of shutting down the other team's #1 receiver for years. Last year he didn't do as well, but some of that may be attributable to working back from the injury he suffered in late 2012.

Anonymous said...

So Dale, Is this list based on how they played last season, how you expect them to play this upcoming season or a mixture of both?

Dale Lolley said...

A mixture of both, though as I have noted a number of times, several players could rise higher, Markus Wheaton being a prime example.

I think a big reason for Ike's struggles last season were due to a lack of recovery speed at free safety. Because the safeties had to bite on play-action, he was left by his lonesome too often on some very good players.

Anonymous said...

Why aren't there links to the other articles in this series? Why would anyone waste their time reading one of these when the only option is to search all over the web to find the remaining articles?

kyle said...

Only option? Do you mean other than scrolling down?

Anonymous said...

Sorry if I don't see a lot of quality in #11 through #25 so far.

I think it helps explain exactly why we were 8-8 over the last two seasons. In my opinion, our roster is lacking in talent. Yes, we're trying to re-stock the fridge, but missed drafts in 2006 (Woodley is gone), 2008 and 2009 (no players left on roster) have really hurt.

Our 13th and 14th best players, which were both on the OPEN MARKET this past off-season only got very minimum contracts (really 1 or 2 year deals around $1 million). So anyone could have plucked our 13th best player just by out-bidding us $500k? That's not a ringing endorsement on the depth of the current Steelers roster.

Frank Beans said...

Want some cheese with that?