5 Most Valuable Players for 2019

By Logan Leslie


5. Devin Bush

The Pittsburgh Steelers have struggled mightily to replace the Pro Bowl caliber play of Ryan Shazier at the inside linebacker position. Vince Williams has been very good but he is not the same type of player Shazier was. Shazier was a strong player in coverage with a speed unmatched by most linebackers in the NFL. The replacements of Sean Spence, Tyler Matekevich, and Jon Bostic could not come close to matching this level of play over the last season and a half. This is why the team traded up ten spots in this year’s NFL Draft to select ILB Devin Bush out of the University of Michigan.

Bush possesses a very similar skill set to that of Shazier. He excels in coverage, has great speed, and can force turnovers. This could be the missing piece from the defense since Shazier’s injury, and the Steel Curtain may finally be back.


4. T.J. Watt

There’s no question Watt was a steal at pick number 30 in the 2017 draft. In his first two seasons, he has 20 sacks, 120 combined tackles, 89 solo tackles, and 22 tackles for loss. He earned Pro Bowl honors in just his second season. Watt will enter the 2019 season with high expectations. The defense will need to be even better following the loss of both Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell on offense. Look for Watt to be the leader for the new era Steel Curtain.


3. JuJu Smith-Schuster

The loss of Antonio Brown has cemented JuJu as the team’s number one receiver. He is undoubtedly a fan favorite in Pittsburgh going into his third season, and his talent is likely the reason the team felt they could trade a future Hall of Famer in Brown. Smith-Schuster caught 111 passes last season for 1,426 yards and 7 touchdowns en route to earning the team MVP award. At only 22 years old, the sky is the limit. He’ll likely struggle at times adjusting to his new role, but we have been given no reason not to believe him.


2. James Conner & Co.

The drama filled 2018 season and Bell vs Conner debates have come to a close. Last season was a “prove it” year for Conner, and he proved his worth with a bang shutting up all of the Le’Veon Bell worshipers in the process. In only 13 games last season, Conner amassed 1,470 yards from scrimmage and 13 total touchdowns. Numbers like those make Bell seem like a distant memory. There is no question the Steelers are at their best when they can run the ball and control the clock. A full season from Conner will go a long way to successfully execute that formula.

Also in the backfield and likely to see touches are Jaylen Samuels and rookie Benny Snell. Samuels’ 172 yard performance against the rival New England Patriots will not soon be forgotten. He also excelled in other limited usage last season. He’ll look to build on last season as the primary back up to Conner. As for Snell, he has a very long track record of success in college. His downhill bowling ball type running style should see success behind arguably the best offensive line in football. Snell should be given the opportunity to compete with Samuels for the primary back up role in his rookie season. Running back will undoubtedly be the Steelers’ strength in 2019.


1. Ben Roethlisberger

O’Captain, my captain… Big Ben has been the key to success for the Steelers since his rookie season in 2004. Coming off one of the strongest statistical seasons of his career and the loss of Antonio Brown, he will be the key to success for the team in 2019. With an improved defense, a now well-balanced Steelers team will need the 37 year old quarterback to thrive. Should he succeed, he is undoubtedly the most valuable player on the Steelers’ roster.


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