Share & Comment:

Steelers roster ranks in bottom half of the NFL when it comes to youth

When it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers roster, many, including myself, feel as if they are a team getting younger across the board. But is that really true?

Every year at this time ESPN ranks the best rosters for players who are under the age of 25 years old. Again, if you’re like me, you thought the Steelers would move up in these ranks heading into 2024. Well, they did move up, but not nearly as high as many might have believed they would.

Before looking at the rankings, let’s take a look at ESPN’s criteria for such an exercise:

As is our standard, we have created these rankings based on a combination of factors:

  • Number of starts made by players under 25 years old
  • Number of snaps played by players under 25 years old
  • Quality of play of players under 25 years old, age-adjusted to capture the fact that a 21-year-old player of X ability will likely improve more than a 23-year-old player of X ability — and with extra consideration given to Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections
  • Value and length of player contracts
  • Relative importance of positions, in particular with quarterbacks being more important and running backs, off-ball linebackers and specialists being less important than other positions
  • Draft value added in the 2024 draft
  • Expected key starters and reserves under 25 years old for teams in 2024
  • Significant injuries or suspensions that will affect the 2024 availability of players under 25 years old

So, with all that out of the way, it’s time to see where the Steelers ranked ahead of the 2024 regular season. Again, they did move up in the rankings, but not by much.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

2023 ranking: 25

Blue-chip players: OT Broderick Jones, WR George Pickens

Notable graduated players: OT Dan Moore Jr.

The Steelers graduated a starting offensive tackle, Moore, from this list, but he probably won’t have a starting job this season anyway after posting an 87.5% PBWR and 73.8% RBWR. Instead, younger and higher-drafted talents will man the tackle spots, with Jones and first-round pick Troy Fautanu at age 23.

Center Zach Frazier is also 23 and will start as a rookie. At wide receiver, 23-year-old Pickens takes over as the unchallenged No. 1 receiver in Pittsburgh after having 1,140 receiving yards in 2023. Also age 23: rookie slot receiver Roman Wilson, nose tackle Keeanu Benton and second tight end Darnell Washington. The one exception when it comes to talent under 25 is No. 1 cornerback Joey Porter Jr., who turns 24 in late July.

When you look at the criteria listed above the ranking, you can see this is a category where the Steelers could continue to rise if some of their young talent starts to show out this season. Players like Keeanu Benton, Darnell Washington and Roman Wilson were listed, but players like Nick Herbig could also take a big step forward in helping the Steelers youth movement get more notoriety this season.

Ultimately, I think the best course of action is to not have an extremely young team, nor an extremely old team. You need a good mixture of youth and experience to maximize potential, and hopefully the Steelers have done just that this season.

Be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for training camp to start in just a few short weeks.


Sign up below for the latest news, stories and podcasts from our affiliates

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.