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Four Steelers on CBS Sports Top 100 Players of 2022 Rankings

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Steelers Watt Heyward

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports revealed his Top 100 Players of 2022 rankings on Tuesday, and four Steelers appeared on the list. After being named Defensive Player of the Year and tying Michael Strahan’s all-time single-season sack record (22.5) in 2021, T.J. Watt was slotted at No. 7. Watt was the second-highest ranked defensive player, behind only Rams’ defensive tackle and Pitt product Aaron Donald, who ranked No. 1 overall.

Following Watt, Cam Heyward came in at No. 27 and Diontae Johnson was ranked at No. 70. Heyward was the second-ranked interior defensive lineman, while Johnson was listed as the 12th-best wide receiver. Johnson, who’s up for a massive contract extension, was the only Steelers offensive player on Prisco’s Top 100 list.

“He might be the game’s most underrated down player,” Prisco said of Heyward. “He is a force who doesn’t pile up huge sacks numbers in their scheme. But he did have 10 last year, which is the second-best of his career.”

Minkah Fitzpatrick’s four-year contract extension that he signed on Wednesday is worth over $18.4 million per year, with $36 million guaranteed at signing. Fitzpatrick is now the highest-paid safety in the league, surpassing Jamal Adams’ $17.5 million per year figure. Despite being named first-team All-Pro twice in his career (2019, 2020) and rewarded as the highest-paid safety in the game, Prisco thought Fitzpatrick took a step back in 2021 and had him ranked at No. 97.

“After an impressive 2020 season, his play dropped some last season,” Prisco said. “Early in the season, he just wasn’t as good. But he came on late to help the Steelers make the playoffs.”

Fitzpatrick was ranked as the seventh-best safety in the league, behind Jessie Bates, Jordan Poyer, Derwin James, Budda Baker, Kevin Byard, Micah Hyde and Antoine Winfield Jr.

Running back Najee Harris was the only Steelers player to make Prisco’s honorable mention list. Harris broke Franco Harris’ rookie rushing record last year with 1,200 yards rushing on 307 carries (3.9 average) and seven touchdowns. Harris also had 74 receptions for 467 yards (6.3 average) and three touchdowns. Harris made the Pro Bowl as an alternate in his rookie campaign.

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