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The Steelers Triplets Are Disrespected by National Media

Justin K. Aller / Getty Images

The Steelers Triplets Are Disrespected by National Media

The Pittsburgh Steelers are transitioning at quarterback and either Mitch Trubisky or Kenny Pickett is going to be the starting quarterback for the black and gold this season. All due respect to Mason Rudolph, I think he will be lucky to make the roster.

CBSSports.com released a ranking system for the current NFL’s “triplets” ranking the best quarterback, running back, wide receiver combinations in the NFL. I don’t know if Jared Dubin, the author, produced the rankings on his own, with a team, or frankly a Harry Potter wizarding cap. I realize that is a little hyperbolic, and I apologize in advance. He obviously did not have a team.

The article breaks the rankings into seven tiers and is to be presented in two parts with all the below average rankings presented today. The Steelers managed to make it to Tier 6 in his rankings 25/32 teams overall in the ‘Not Awful but Not Great’ category. He uses Trubisky as the default quarterback for the Steelers, Najee Harris as the running back and Diontae Johnson as the wide receiver. Dubin uses several tight ends as part of the triplets in his rankings. He does not lay out his criteria, but I have read the rankings several times and it still mystifies me.

Steelers Harris Johnson

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, Diontae Johnson (#18) and running back, Najee Harris (#22) celebrate at Heinz Field. | Pro Football Talk

CBS does exhibit a certain Steelers bias in my opinion with most subjective rankings of players and draft picks, but this one is more irksome than normal.  The Steelers are ranked behind offensive juggernauts like the Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars in the same tier and are not considered on par with the New England Patriots or San Francisco 49ers — and who knows what groups he considers above league average?

I am assuming that the Steelers low ranking centers around the quarterback position, so let’s look at that first and we are just going to use Trubisky to compare apples to apples.

Trubisky played in very limited action for the Buffalo Bills last season, and last took the field as a starter for the Chicago Bears in 2020.  His career record as a starter for the Bears in 40 starts was 29-21. His career completion percentage as a starter is 64% and he has 64 touchdowns to 38 interceptions. He led his team to two playoff appearances in four seasons. His playoff record was 0-2 with a 62.5% completion percentage and 2 touchdowns versus 0 interceptions. Trubisky also made it to a Pro Bowl in 2018.


Side by Side QB Comparison of Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett and Mason Rudolph


I have heard the national media talk shows railing against Bears management potentially impeding Justin Fields progress as a quarterback and how the organization was equally likely to squander his talent. I am curious how the Bears could waste Fields talent, but Trubisky was a bust? Dubin derides Trubisky’s ability and considers teams featuring Jared Goff , Trey Lance and Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback are significantly better than the Steelers. Trubisky compares favorably to Goff and Tagovailoa and any objective measure would declare him superior to Lance.

Steelers Mitchell Trubisky

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, Mitch Trubisky (#10) participates in organized team activities in May of 2022 at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. | Steelers.com

Harris and Johnson are Pro Bowl players and are ascending playmakers. I know the Steelers have not committed to Johnson long term yet, but with 107 catches from Ben Roethlisberger’s last gasp season, he is certainly a top 12 receiver at this point in his career. I would make the argument that Harris is ready to be a top 3 running back in the NFL after a promising rookie year behind an improved line. The strength of the Steelers Pro Bowl triplets is obviously Harris and Johnson, but all three Steelers have participated in the game that selects the top players at their positions.

It begs the question how teams like Jacksonville who have an up and coming rookie quarterback in Trevor Lawrence, but feature a running back James Robinson who was benched and a receiver Christian Kirk who has never been a number one receiver. Or New England who had the best rookie quarterback season from Mac Jones of the 2021 draftees, but is declared that a fourth year running back who in Damien Harris and tight end Hunter Henry have never come close to what Harris and Johnson did in 2021 for a playoff team.

 

What do you think, Steeler Nation? Are the Steelers triplets criminally underrated, or do you agree that they are the lower 1/4 of the NFL? Please comment below or on my Twitter @thebubbasq.

I have been rooting for the Steelers actively since 1975. I love the Black and Gold and support them through thick and thin. I am a Navy Veteran, living in Jacksonville, FL and never miss a chance to go to the neutral site games here in Jacksonville. I am new to the Steeler Nation website, but I love discussing Steelers Past, Present and Future.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Michael Marshall

    May 26, 2022 at 8:41 pm

    The Steelers players represented in this article are FAR BETTER than where they are ranked! Najee Harris reminds me of Franco Harris all these years later. Johnson has the potential to play at the level of the Best Wide Receivers in the game. Quarterback is a question at this point. But that situation will sort itself out over the course of this Season.

    I’m a 43 year Season Ticket Holder and I’ve seen everything from The Immaculate Reception to our Winning and losing the Super Bowl 🏈! I think it’s great that we’re being overlooked by the League. Mark my Words, this team is going places…

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