Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Pittsburgh Steelers Week 1 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2022 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Below you will find a Week 1 roundup for the Pittsburgh Steelers in our consensus 2022 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 22

Who's on the hot seat: ILB Devin Bush

The Steelers already declined Bush's fifth-year option, making this a make-or-break season for Bush. A former top-10 pick, he played well his rookie season and halfway through his second year until he sustained an ACL tear. Bush returned from the injury in 2021 but didn't appear to trust his knee, and his hesitation sometimes made him a liability on the field. In hiring Brian Flores and signing Myles Jack in free agency, the Steelers are giving Bush the tools to reach his potential, but he has to make the plays to solidify a starting job and his future in the NFL. -- Rank: 21

Will the offensive line be any better? The Steelers struggled to protect the quarterback and open up running lanes in 2021, and a look at the 2022 blocking front doesn't spark enormous confidence that things are about to change. Pro Football Focus ranked the Steelers' line 30th out of 32 teams back in June, all the more reason to start the season with a mobile veteran at QB in Mitch Trubisky rather than green rookie Kenny Pickett. In an ideal world, the line settles in as the season progresses, which opens the door for Pickett to enter a less-volatile situation when his opportunity comes.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 23

It's going to be Kenny Pickett time sooner rather than later. And it should be. It's hard to believe they are so far down on this list as we head into the season.

The Athletic -- Rank: 19

The good news: Mike Tomlin's 15-year streak without a losing record is preposterous, and even though quarterback is a significant question mark, it's hard to expect either Mitch Trubisky or Kenny Pickett to be a significant downgrade from the broken-down Ben Roethlisberger of the past few seasons. If the defense can be more like the 2020 version, this could be a surprise playoff contender.

The bad news: By all accounts, the Steelers' offseason plan to upgrade their offensive line has gotten off to a disastrous start. Not only could that torpedo their season, but it could affect the team's willingness to hand the reins to Pickett so as not to ruin the rookie's confidence in the pocket.

Nugget to remember: Together, J.J. and T.J. Watt have combined for 174 career sacks. If they were melded into one person, the Watts would still rank only third on the all-time list behind Reggie White (198) and Bruce Smith (200).

The Ringer -- Rank: 22

Mike Tomlin has been playing it coy about his quarterback plans, but we're basing the Steelers' initial ranking on the expectation that Mitchell Trubisky will be Pittsburgh's starter for at least the first few weeks of the season. That's a sound short-term plan. The long-term plan, with Kenny Pickett at quarterback, is much more interesting, and I'm not sure I'd want to see him playing behind a bottom-three offensive line in an uber-competitive AFC North. The Steelers defense should be very good and keep Pittsburgh in games, but might not be enough to overcome offensive struggles.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 22

Mike Tomlin was drawing out announcing a starting quarterback, though it would be a surprise if it's not Mitchell Trubisky. But Kenny Pickett looked good in the preseason. He should play pretty soon this season.

PFT -- Rank: 16

Write them off at your own peril.

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