Now that the NFL Draft is in the books and most, if not all, of the players that have a chance of making the Steelers’ final roster are already on the roster, it seems like a good time to do my early predictions for the Steelers’ offensive player stats. I will do my predictions in two parts. One for offense and one for defense/special teams. Here is the offense addition.
Projections: 3,985 Passing Yards, 25 Passing TDs, 10 Interceptions, 65.8% Completion Percentage
Last year Ben Roethlisberger had a career year when he racked up 4,261 pass yards and 28 touchdowns. He most likely won’t reach those statistics for the 2014-2015 season, but he does have a good chance to come close to replicating those numbers. Despite losing his biggest security blanket in Jericho Cotchery over the offseason, he does have a full health Heath Miller and a new possession receiver in Lance Moore to lean upon. There should also be a better running game in Pittsburgh this season to help take some of the pressure off of Big Ben.
Projections: 273 Carries, 1,194 Rushing Yards, 9 Rushing TDs, 33 Receptions, 278 Receiving Yards, 1 Receiving TD
For a rookie who was running behind the Steelers awful offensive line and only played in 13 games, Le’Veon Bell had a pretty outstanding rookie season. He even significantly picked up his production towards the end of the season. Expect him to better those totals this season and hopefully top 1,000 yards rushing. Don’t be surprised if he raises his touchdown totals either because the offense lacks a significant red zone weapon. Bell is by far the best back who has played in Pittsburgh since Jerome Bettis.
Projections: 171 Carries, 701 Rushing Yards, 5 Rushing TDs, 4 Receptions, 22 Receiving Yards
Although he wasn’t the best player added this offseason, he was probably my favorite addition the Steelers made. The Steelers lacked a significant second option on their depth chart this past season but the addition of Blount in free agency should immediately fix that issue. Blount is a power back who will not have any problem with running you over if you are in his way and he also has some speed to pull away from defenses. I expect the LeBackfield to bring the Steelers running game back to being one of the best in the league
Projections: 52 Carries, 279 Rushing Yards, 1 Rushing TDs, 41 Receptions, 292 Receiving Yards, 2 Receiving TDs
When the Steelers drafted Dri Archer in the third round I was furious. I have calmed down to the pick since then, but I still think it was an awful pick. Archer will be lucky if he gets significantly more than 5 touches a game. One thing that don’t think anyone doubts is that he will provide an element of electricity to this offense. Archer will bring the threat of being able to take it to the house any time he gets his hand on the football. He should also provide a competent kick returner that isn’t named Antonio Brown, which will be a breath of fresh air.
Projections: 107 Receptions, 1,246 Receiving Yards, 9 Receiving TDs, 6 Carries, 33 Rushing Yards
I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that Antonio Brown is one of the five best receivers in the NFL, and arguably one of the three best, so why would I doubt that he will perform like one. If you are going to argue that 1,246 yards isn’t good enough for top five in the league, than I am going to say to you that few others, if any, that put up stats better than AB will have as weak of a supporting cast as him. Brown almost definitely won’t repeat his 2013 success, but I don’t expect him to be very far off.
Projections: 49 Receptions, 608 Receiving Yards, 5 Receiving TDs
After being affected by various injuries throughout his rookie season that one can only assume greatly affected his play, Wheaton will have to take a much bigger role in the offense this year. After Jericho Cotchery left for greener pastures and the front office made the huge mistake of waiting until day 3 to draft a receiver, he will almost be forced to. Other than tight end Heath Miller, he is really the only one, besides Lance Moore if he wants to make a huge statement against his age, that has the skills to do become the second option.
Projections: 56 Receptions, 512 Receiving Yards, 2 Receiving TDs
When Lance Moore was brought on by the Steelers front office as the fourth receiver, I was pretty happy. Even if he was declining due to age it was a good signing. Now that he is firmly implanted as the third receiver, however, I am thoroughly disappointed. Moore is good at what he specializes in. He’s very similar to Wes Welker but not nearly as good. If you had asked me if I wanted Moore as my third receiver five years ago, I would have said yes with very little hesitation. Now that he’s on the wrong side of thirty and is being forced into this role, I’m not so sure.
Projections: 27 Receptions, 297 Receiving Yards, 1 Receiving TD
In all likelihood, Martavis Bryant will be either very very good in the NFL or very very bad. If everything pans out perfectly he could be every bit as good as AJ Green, but if everything goes wrong he could be far worse than Limas Sweed ever was. Even if the cards do hold a spectacular future for Bryant, don’t expect much out of him as a rookie. He will be spending most of the season trying to work out the kinks in his game such as route running, concentration, and catching technique. If he can fix those things in his first season, expect big things out of him in 2015.
Projections: 9 Receptions, 92 Receiving Yards
What is there even to say about DHB. He is one of the biggest draft busts of the past ten years, his hands often remind everyone watching of bricks, and he will have to fight it out to even make this roster next year. Assuming that he does make the roster, don’t expect that much production out of him. If he can crack double digits in receptions, he should consider that a good season.
Projections: 62 Receptions, 638 Receiving Yards, 5 Receiving TDs
As an aging tight end who was coming off torn knee ligaments, Heath Miller left much to be desired. As a still aging tight end who should be fully healthy, however, I have fairly high expectations. Don’t expect Miller to set any career highs or even come that close, but he should be much better than he was last year. He should retake the role of Ben’s favorite safety blanket and should benefit from the bulk of the red zone targets that belonged to Cotchery last year. I hope he doesn’t disappoint.
Projections: 6 Receptions, 53 Receiving Yards
Spaeth never has been and never will be a receiving tight end, no matter how disappointing it is that he is the second string tight end. He should be able nicely as a blocking tight end when needed but outside of that he is pretty useless.
Projections: 3 Receptions, 32 Receiving Yards
I’m actually pleasantly surprised that Paulson is still on the team seeing that he was a seventh round pick. He hasn’t done much so far and I don’t expect that to change. Barring and injury, he should stay on his <5 catches a season pace.
There they are Steelers Nation. Your stat projections for the 2014, and hopefully 2015, Pittsburgh Steelers offense. What did you think? Feel free to leave you thoughts in the comment section.