Pittsburgh had an intimidating defensive line in 2020. Here’s why Pro Football Focus is so high on three Steelers defensive linemen entering 2021.
As for the best positional groups on the team, you can give any sort of rotation you want on the matter, but you’ll have a hard time convincing me that the defensive line isn’t the best unit. on the Steelers. In fact, she may be the best defensive lineman in all of football.
Stephon Tuitt was finally healthy in 2020, and that made a big difference. Pro Football Focus has gone through each group of positions this offseason and ranked the top 32 players in each position. For their most recent article, they’ve rounded up all of the inside defensive linemen. Still, with so many quality defensive linemen to compete with, the Steelers had three players on this roster.
According to Ben Linsey’s ranking, Cameron Heyward ranks 3rd among all inside defensive linemen entering the 2021 season, while Stephon Tuitt placed 11th. Uniform nose tackle Tyson Alualu found his name on this list at the 29th.
Steelers deserve three reps
I don’t think anyone was surprised to see both Heyward and Tuitt breaking this list. While there are over 64 starting inside defensive linemen in the NFL (depending on which teams perform odd or even fronts), many see Heyward and Tuitt as the most dominant par of inside defensemen in the league.
Last season, it was Tuitt who was the beneficiary of the stat sheet – surpassing Heyward in almost every major statistic category. Either way, the two players combined for 99 tackles, 15.0 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, 44 quarterback hits and 67 presses, according to Pro Football Reference.
But these two aren’t the only Steelers defensive linemen receiving a little love. Tyson Alualu also shattered that list thanks to his dominance as a race defender while being able to prove constant pressure on the quarterback. Although he recorded just 2.0 sacks and 4 tackles for a loss last season, he made a difference on the football field and earned a very respectable PFF rating last season.
While Pittsburgh’s pass rush may take a bit of trouble now that Bud Dupree is no longer with the team, the Steelers have all inside defenders set to return to the roster this year, as Alualu and Chris Wormley have both been re-signed this offseason. .
Eventually Cameron Heyward’s game will start to wane as he’s in his 30s, but Tuitt has just completed his best NFL season, and this group, as a whole, is expected to be dominant again in 2021. It should also be note that the former Steelers defensive tackle, Javon hargrave, also made this list.
The Steelers have several very strong positional groups on the team, but their defensive line is as dominant as any group in the NFL. Hopefully Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt and Tyson Alualu can all be on this list again next offseason.