PFN: 3 Steelers Earn Places in Top 100-51 Players
The Steelers' 2020 season seems optimistic as the NFL inches closer to training camp and continues to define guidelines for games.
While fans and players wait for football to return, Pro Football Network is looking ahead to what will be by releasing their Top 100 Players of 2020. In their first 50 names (100-51), the Steelers earned three places amongst the NFL's best.
Stephon Tuitt starts the list, appearing at No. 90.
"When looking at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense, Pro Bowlers and former first-round picks pop up all over the field," PFF wrote. "The Steelers have one of the league’s star-studded defensive units from TJ Watt and Cameron Heyward to Minkah Fitzpatrick, Joe Haden and Devin Bush. While the aforementioned group is flooded with accolades, Stephon Tuitt is quietly creating a name of his own.
"After a handful of solid seasons in Pittsburgh, Heyward competed at an All-Pro level in 2019 before an injury disrupted his effective campaign. In six games, the former Notre Dame standout registered six tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, seven quarterback hits and 22 combined tackles. Tuitt’s season ended with a torn pectoral muscle he suffered in Week 6."
David DeCastro is the second Steelers to earn a place, ranking 73rd in the top 100.
"Ask any 'yinzer' what they think about David DeCastro and after they are done waving their Terrible Towel at you, they will probably hit you with the word 'stalwart,'" PFF wrote. "The offensive guard has been incredibly consistent for the Pittsburgh Steelers, earning five straight Pro Bowls while sprinkling in a pair of first-team All-Pro selections. He dominates defensive tackles as a pass protector and is a mauler in the run game.
"DeCastro was a key cog in the Killer B’s offense of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell that set the league on fire. While two-thirds of that group has moved on, DeCastro still holds strong along the Pittsburgh interior. Running back James Conner certainly owes a debt of gratitude to him for opening up holes the size of Mack trucks to run through."
Finally, Cameron Heyward tops the list of the first 50, finishing at 67. Heyward finished as the second-highest defensive lineman in the first 50 behind Indianapolis Colts' DeForrest Buckner (51).
"Ask any yinzer what they think about Cameron Heyward and after they are done waving their Terrible…wait, that has already been said about David DeCastro. However, the point stands," PFF wrote. "Heyward, like DeCastro, has been a stalwart in Western PA for nearly a decade. His last three seasons have been particularly dominant from the defensive interior and have earned him a spot on two of the last three All-Pro first-teams.
"Defensive tackle has been a position long overlooked as just run stuffers, but players like Heyward have been doing their best to transform that thought process. He has 29 sacks over the last three seasons and is consistently rated at the top of his position. Heyward is a powerhouse up the middle who works tirelessly to not only get his sacks but occupy blocks so T.J. Watt (more on him later) and Stephon Tuitt can get theirs. Steelers Nation has to hope that Heyward can get back to a fourth consecutive Pro Bowl this year."