The yearly NFL Top 100 list put together by the NFL Network has dropped and only three Pittsburgh Steelers made the list. Technically you can say four because one player made an honorable mention.
The list always raises questions and has football fans critiquing it. Some notable Steeler names left off the list this year were JuJu Smith-Schuster, Joe Haden, and of course the walking Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger.
Nevertheless, three is better than none.
The first player to show up on the list was Cameron Heyward at 84. For some reason, Heyward is overlooked and underappreciated. Heyward has been playing lights out the past three year, earning three straight Pro Bowls. He has also earned first-team All-Pro honors twice. Heyward and Rams defensive tackle were the only two players to earn All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors last year.
Heyward has made the list four times and will continue to if he continues to dominant the defensive line.
Next up was safety Minkah Fitzpatrick at 35. This was Fitzpatrick’s first time making the list after a dominant All-Pro season. Once he was traded to the Steelers from the Miami Dolphins, he made an immediate impact and really balled out of control.
Fitzpatrick took the ball away eight times. He had five interceptions and three fumble recoveries, while scoring two defensive touchdowns. He was exactly what the Steel Curtin needed to reignite the domination. He was also first Pittsburgh player with an interception and forced fumble in the opening half of a game since 2008 when James Harrison did it.
There is no doubt that the Steelers look like geniuses by trading for Fitzpatrick and that he is going to be threat for many offenses.
The final Steeler on the list was All-Pro pass rusher, T.J. Watt coming in at 25. By the end of his third season, Watt had established himself as one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL. He led the AFC with 14.5 sacks and led the league with eight forced fumbles. He also had two interceptions, 14 tackles for a loss and led the league in quarterback pressures.
Watt was nominated and was a real contender for NFL Defensive Player of The Year. He finished in third with votes. To say Watt had a monster year would be an understatement.
With Watt, Heyward and Fitzpatrick on the defense, the future is very bright for the Pittsburgh defense and will live up to their historic reputation.
Center Maurkice Pouncey almost made the list as he came in at 102. What more can be said about Pouncey. He is the anchor on the offensive line and a captain on offense. He has made the pro bowl eight of his nine seasons.