The Pittsburgh Steelers have several players on the Pro Football Focus (PFF) list of the Top 101 players from 2015. Steelers star receiver Antonio Brown just missed the number one overall spot.
While this list can be argued and some fans have different perspectives, it’s really cool to see three Pittsburgh Steelers on the list. Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger, and James Harrison all made the top 101 players of 2015.
Some snubs that have been discussed were Cameron Heyward (who made #88 on NFL’s Top 100 Show), and David DeCastro, who had an outstanding year.
#2: Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
The best wide receiver in the game right now, Antonio Brown is simply unstoppable against any conventional coverage. Broncos CB Chris Harris Jr. hadn’t allowed a touchdown for 36 straight games before facing Brown in Week 15—the Steelers wideout grabbed two TDs in Harris’ coverage that game. Brown isn’t a physical specimen in the way some of the NFL’s top receivers are, but excels at every fundamental aspect of the position. He earned the highest grade for a wideout PFF has ever given, and was only slowed down when the Steelers lost Ben Roethlisberger to injury and were forced to play Landry Jones and Michael Vick. Had Brown been paired with Roethlisberger all season, his stats project out as 158 catches for 2,114 yards and 15 touchdowns; the first two of those three numbers would be all-time single-season records.
Best performance: Week 9 versus Oakland: +8.5
Key stat: Brown’s cumulative overall season grade of +36.1 was the highest for any NFL WR in the PFF era (since 2007).
The quarterback that makes everything happen came in at number 24.
#24: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
But for missing time due to injury, we could have seen a season from Ben Roethlisberger that would have put him at the very sharp end of this list, because when he was on the field, he was excellent. His accuracy and efficiency throwing downfield was remarkable in 2015, completing 27 passes for 1,170 yards just on deep (20+ air yards) passes over the regular season. In his two postseason games, he added another three such completions for 105 yards, orchestrating one of the league’s most dangerous passing attacks.
Best performance: Week 13 versus Indianapolis: +8.5
Key stat: Roethlisberger was accurate on 50.0 percent of his deep throws, second-best in the NFL.
Lastly, long time veteran outside linebacker James Harrison made the list.
#92: James Harrison, OLB, Pittsburgh Steelers
At this point you have to begin to wonder if Harrison is legitimately ageless. A perennial underdog story, Harrison is now 37 years old and is still the best pass-rusher on the Steelers’ defense. He notched 48 total pressures, but also a strong grade against the run, and in all honesty shows no sign of truly declining despite his advanced age. If anything he ended the season stronger than he began it, with a sack in each of the Steelers’ two postseason games.
Best performance: Week 5 at San Diego: +7.1 grade
Key stat: Harrison had the third-highest run-stop percentage for 3-4 OLBs at 9.0
Steeler fans should be excited to see three athletes on the Top 101 players of 2015. Aaron Donald from the Los Angeles Rams came in at number one on the list. He has been a talented force on the Rams defense. Some argue that he is currently the best young defensive front player in the NFL. Registering 20.0 sacks in only two seasons is OUTSTANDING.
This list was once again brought to you by Pro Football Focus (PFF). Follow them on Twitter @PFF.