Saturday, September 11, 2021

Pittsburgh Steelers Week 1 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Pittsburgh Steelers rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 14.2 (12th)
  • Best ranking: 10th (
  • Worst ranking: 21st (USA Today)

Below you will find a Week 1 roundup for the Steelers in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 21

Person on the hot seat: TE Eric Ebron

Signed in free agency a year ago, Ebron was brought in to be a red zone threat. But he struggled with drops last season, he wasn't a significant help as a blocker and his production -- five touchdowns and 558 yards -- didn't meet expectations. The Steelers drafted Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth in the second round, and he has been a standout in camp as a receiver and a blocker. Ebron has been sidelined with elbow soreness, giving Freiermuth more first-team reps. The rookie could not only push Ebron, an unrestricted free agent after this season, for a starting job, but also could bump him off the roster. -- Brooke Pryor -- Rank: 11

Ben Roethlisberger carved up the Lions' secondary in his final appearance of the preseason, delivering the type of downfield throws that had become all but extinct for the Pittsburgh attack during the team's infamous late-season fade in 2020. Roethlisberger regularly threw beyond the sticks against Detroit, showing hopeful Steelers fans he still possesses some zip in his arm and the gunslinger mentality that made him such a fun watch in his heyday. The Steelers won't compete in the rugged AFC North unless the 39-year-old Roethlisberger can crank back the clock. It's a major AFC subplot to watch as a new season dawns.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 10

Ben Roethlisberger is back, and he's looked good so far. But the biggest question is the offensive line. They made big changes there. The defense will be outstanding again.

USA Today -- Rank: 14.2

OLB T.J. Watt's contract impasse is perhaps one of preseason's more underappreciated stories, his availability for the opener increasingly in doubt.

The Athletic -- Rank: 10

Why they're ranked here: Like the Chargers, the Steelers made a short climb after the preseason, up two spots from No. 14 to No. 12. So, what changes have we seen in Pittsburgh that could have led to this bump? The Steelers added linebacker Joe Schobert in a trade from Jacksonville, and he should see significant playing time. And in limited preseason action, Ben Roethlisberger's arm looked alive, which is better than it was at several points last season.

One big question: Will the offensive line be effective? That was one of the dominant storylines during camp, and it still isn't settled. The Pittsburgh line is young and fairly unproven and does not appear to have much depth behind the starting five. Week 1 will be an interesting matchup for that new group, as we'll get to see the Bills' new pass rush (featuring first-round pick Greg Rousseau) for the first time.

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