Let's just start out by saying Pro Football Focus are not big fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They have been pretty brutal on the Steelers organization after picking a running back in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft instead of an offensive lineman. I wish I could sit down with someone from PFF because I would love to debate them in regards to their awful takes on the 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers. Why would they reach for a second-round offensive lineman in the first round instead of taking the best running back on the board? Common sense tells you to take the playmaker. Especially if your team finished dead last in the running game in 2020.
Much of the National Media does not like the Pittsburgh Steelers offense going into the 2021 season. They feel Ben Roethlisberger is washed up and some of the media have even left out the Hall of Famer in their top 100 players going into the 2021 season. It is mind-boggling to see because Ben Roethlisberger did all he could do in the 2020 season with a horrible offensive coordinator and no running game. They expect a 39-year-old quarterback to be superman all over the field and it is not going to happen. Even Tom Brady even needs a stacked football team to win the Super Bowl as they did in 2020.
Pro Football Focus recently ranked all 32 receiving corps ahead of the 2021 NFL season. They ranked the Pittsburgh Steelers as the 18th best wide receiving corps in the NFL. PFF is so biased against the Steelers they have the Cardinals, Chargers, Falcons, Giants, and Bengals ahead of them.
Last season the Steelers failed to create explosive plays on the football field. Everyone knows why they were not able to create explosive plays is because they were one-dimensional. You cannot ask your quarterback to carry the entire offensive side of the ball in Professional Football. You need to be able to run the football instead of throwing it 50 times a game. Eventually, that system will catch up to you as it did with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020.
Bringing in Najee Harris will only make the Pittsburgh Steelers a better football team in 2021. It will also allow Ben Roethlisberger to throw the ball less. Teams will now need to look for the Steelers to run the ball while guarding talented wide receivers. Harris will allow Ben Roethlisberger and company to open up the field a lot more and not look one-dimensional. That seems to be what most of the National Media are overlooking with the 2021 Steelers. Harris allows the Steelers to be more creative in the backfield. Something they have not had since Le'Veon Bell departed the team.
Here is why Pro Football Focus ranked the Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receivers as the 18th best receiving group in the NFL: "Last season, the Steelers struggled to create explosive plays, but they have the pieces in play to improve in that department in 2021. Chase Claypool had a strong rookie season with peaks that rival the best downfield threats in the league. He led all rookies with nine receiving touchdowns, and his size and speed should be used more often this season."
"Diontae Johnson is one of the better route runners in the league, but his 2020 was marred by 14 drops on just 102 catchable passes. Drops tend to be an unstable stat, so expect that number to fall and Johnson to settle in as one of the most effective short and intermediate receivers in the league. JuJu Smith-Schuster returns after flirting with other teams in free agency. He averaged a paltry 9.0 yards per reception, far below his career average of 12.0. He remains a solid slot option. James Washington is also in the mix as his quest for consistency continues. H graded at 69.3 in 2019 and 63.8 last season. Ray-Ray McCloud III will be used in the jet sweep game after averaging just 3.9 yards per reception on his 20 catches last season."
"The Steelers need better production from the tight end position where Eric Ebron graded at just 57.5 overall in large part due to his nine drops on just 72 catchable passes. They drafted Pat Freiermuth in the second round, and he was perhaps the best all-around tight end in the draft. Freiermuth is a good route runner with after-the-catch ability, so look for him to contribute early in his career."
"The Steelers have a well-rounded group of playmakers, but they just need to better tap into everyone’s strengths while cutting down on the drops this season."