Pro Football Focus has released their rankings of the top 25 players under the age of 25, and two Steelers have made the list.
Fitzpatrick, 23, made an immediate impact after being traded to the Steelers from Miami last season. He generated seven turnovers in 2019, which helped the Steelers lead the league in takeaways and post a top-3 pass defense.
Fitzpatrick was the fourth-ranked safety on the list, behind Derwin James of the Chargers, Jamal Adams of the Jets and the Saints’ Marcus Williams.
Smith-Schuster’s struggles in 2019 may have pushed him down this list, though the injuries and poor quarterback play he dealt with were mostly out of his control. He caught just 42 passes for 552 yards and three touchdowns last year. For comparison, he snagged 111 balls for 1,426 yards and seven scores in 2018 when healthy and playing with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Coming in sixth among wide receivers in the rankings, Smith-Schuster will have to prove himself once again in 2020.
Amazingly, he won’t even be 24 years old when he starts his fourth NFL season.
The AFC North had a number of talented players make the rankings, including Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson at No. 8, immediately followed by Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett. Brown running back Nick Chubb clocked in at No. 14, with a pair of Ravens in cornerback Marlon Humphrey (18) and tight end Mark Andrews (24) coming in later.
No surprise as to who earned the top spot, with Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes coming in at No. 1.