The Steelers are entering the 2021 season with the 15th ranked offensive arsenal in the league, according to ESPN’s Bill Barnwell. That ranking is down slightly from 2020’s ranking of 19th but is the same position from two seasons ago.
Barnwell’s reasoning for the slight dip revolves around the receiving corps and the question marks that come with it heading towards this new season. JuJu Smith-Schuster’s subpar 2020 season is one of the main causes of concern for Barnwell, with Dionte Johnson’s ball security and less than stellar yardage numbers, given his reception totals, also factoring into the decision. Chase Claypool’s drop in production throughout the second half of the 2020 season serves as a main red flag for Barnwell, too.
Pittsburgh’s first-round draft pick, running back Najee Harris, will likely be a step up in the backfield for Pittsburgh and is one of the main positives Barnwell mentions in his ranking. After entertaining the idea of Claypool coming into his own, JuJu Smith-Schuster returning to form and Harris replicating his success at Alabama, Barnwell acknowledged that his ranking could potentially be looked back upon as “silly” if everything aligns for the Steelers’ offense.
Elsewhere, Pittsburgh’s AFC North foes garnered more favorable rankings. Baltimore and Cincinnati sit just in front of the Steelers with rankings of 14th and 13th, and Cleveland is slotted just inside the top-5 with a ranking of 4th.
The list rounds out with the Tennessee Titans in third, the Dallas Cowboys in the second slot and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers resting comfortably in first.