ESPN released its latest offseason power rankings Tuesday, and the Pittsburgh Steelers dropped from their pre-free agency position.
The Steelers clocked in at 15th, down four spot from where they ranked prior to free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.
Suffering significant financial limitations at the time, Pittsburgh did not make much of a splash acquiring free agents and lost some key contributors in the process as well.
While they added an immediate impact playmaker in running back Najee Harris in the NFL Draft, ESPN still does not appear convinced that the club did enough to address their holes.
ESPN also identified which players benefited most from their team’s draft hauls, and both projected starting offensive tackles were selected for the Steelers in Zach Banner and Chukwuma Okorafor.
Both are in a comfortable spot after Pittsburgh opted not to select an offensive tackle in the first or second round of April’s draft.
“With Alejandro Villanueva departing in free agency, Okorafor is ‘penciled in’ at starting left tackle, according to what Mike Tomlin said in April,” ESPN’s Brooke Pryor wrote. “Banner, coming off ACL surgery, is projected to start at right tackle — the position he won in a training camp battle a year ago. Both have more job security, with the Steelers opting to wait until the fourth round to take an offensive tackle.”
Not only were some premier tackles available when the Steelers selected at No. 24 of the first round, but they could have also snagged a potential year one starter in the second as well.
Pittsburgh is putting a ton of faith in a recovering Banner and Okorafor, who has never played on the left side.
Power rankings have their place, but a true assessment of the Steelers’ offseason can not truly be made until kickoff in August.