Dec 29, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) runs the ball past Cleveland Browns defensive back Jordan Poyer (33) and linebacker Barkevious Mingo (51) in the second half at Heinz Field. The Steelers won the game, 20-7. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Stat Projections for Steelers Offense


 

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.

Quarterback

Dec 29, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) reacts at the line of scrimmage against the Cleveland Browns during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 20-7. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Roethlisberger

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.

Running Back

Le’Veon Bell

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.

 

LeGarrette Blount

Jan 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount (29) runs with the ball against the Denver Broncos for the 2013 AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

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

 

Dri Archer

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.

Wide Receiver

Antonio Brown

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.

 

Markus Wheaton

Sep 8, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Markus Wheaton (11) returns a kick-off against the Tennessee Titans during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Tennessee Titans won 16-9. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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.

 

Lance Moore

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.

 

Martavis Bryant

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.

 

Darius Heyward-Bey

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.

Tight End

Heath Miller

Nov 24, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller (83) makes a pass reception against Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard (97) during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

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.

 

Matt Spaeth

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.

 

David Paulson

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.

Tags: Antonio Brown Ben Roethlisberger Dri Archer Featured Heath Miller Le'Veon Bell LeGarrette Blount Markus Wheaton Pittsburgh Steelers Popular

  • bk

    Dri Archer – 6 fumbles, then the bench….Brown 107 receptions? Not with the double coverage he will see all year…

    • ApexSteel

      Why are you so negative kid? What (other than your incessant pessimism) makes you think James Saxon can’t teach Archer ball security the same way he taught AP? And if they’re paying AB all that attention then Heath, Lance, Le’veon, and LeGarrette will be having career years so it evens out.

      • bk

        I just call it as I see it, I do not see any improvement for an 8-8 team.
        This arcticle said projections and said Brown get 107 receptions… without a proven wr group to help, he will get doubled on almost every play… Why wouldn’t he? If I was a DC I would double him and take my chances with everyone else.
        Also, teaching to not fumble is hard, look at the small hands on this guy…

        • ApexSteel

          You’re not the first. You’re just like a lot of the other yinzers claiming that the sky is falling. If you don’t see the potential or the improvement of this team you either don’t want to or you’re just bad at analysis.

          • bk

            I may be bad at analysis…but, at this point it is an opinion.. that’s what these site’s are for… to praise, bitch, predict, etc… if everyone had the same opinion it would be a boring world. While some strive to silence critics and people whose opinions differ, I prefer to hear all the opinions and decide for myself or let time tell.
            I would absolutely love for the receivers to florish, I would love to be able to run the ball and have Ben survive for 5-6 more years… I hope to see dri Archer take a swing pass and go 80 yards for a TD.. I hope to see Bryant soar high above Gilbert on opening day and snag a TD pass…
            We will see, that is why they play the game… I’m just pessimistic at this point is all…

        • Anthony Chiado

          In and AFC North where every team except the Browns, and maybe even the Steelers, regressed, I see us being above five hundred. I think 10-6 and we even may have a shot at winning the division.

  • SDAZT.STEEL66

    I look at Pittsburgh’s offense this fall w/tenuous optimism. On one hand, I love the talent Big Ben has to work with and the play-making potential of Bryant (drafted a round too late) and Archer (drafted three rounds too early). There is so much speed at the wide receiver position, the competition for DHB, Moye and Justin Brown for a final roster spot is a solid problem to have, while Miller & Bryant give Roethlisberger two tall specimens to target. I am even comfortable with the OL coming back this fall, as their play improved down the stretch, a versatile backup was added via the draft who can keep Beachum in one place in the starting lineup and Munchak is in as the new coach.

    Sadly, one must keep in mind that the team lost 113 catches, 1,342 yards and 16 receiving tds over the offseason, and the rapport Big Ben had w/Sanders & Cotchery will be sorely missed. While I have faith that the new group can pick up some of the slack off of AB, he will be a bigger focal point of defenses’ game plans this fall. In addition, the team also lost Kirby Wilson who was an unsung catalyst behind the team’s offensive surge last fall as well.

    It’s not that the unit doesn’t have talent, it does and has plenty.

    I’m more afraid of how that personnel as a whole will be used by Todd Haley more than anything else. If he is the dullard he was last fall, then we can continue to see him rely heavily on 2 TE packages instead of spread formations w/3+ WRs. In turn, we can watch how the slow Bell & Blount run into stacked boxes w/minimal success, instead of boxes w/6 or less guys and subpackages filled w/smaller LBs & DBs. I hope he uses Archer in screens from the spread or on outside tosses as opposed to running him up the gut like he did w/the small Rainey back in 2012.

    Moreover, guys like Bryant (especially in the red zone), Wheaton and Moore had better not lose playing time to the cavalcade of non-athletic TEs and Will Johnson who saw far more playing time than they deserved last fall. This unit should be passing to set up the run with the personnel they have at their disposal, which they found eons of success down the stretch with last fall, not the other way around.

    Personally, I’m intrigued to see what these talented offensive pieces have in store this fall. Of course, I’m tempering my optimism because the golf coach is still around and remains an enormous impediment to this franchise’s success.

  • ralstar

    You say Archer will be a competent kick-returner not named Antonio Brown. First, Brown has returned exactly 1 kick in the last 2 years (1 in ’13, 0 in ’12). Also, last year the league avg. for kick returns was 23.3 yrds and the Steelers averaged 22.3, only a yard different, less than a standard deviation from the mean. I don’t know what real evidence you have about the competence of the Steelers’ kick returners. Could you elaborate – you might have more info than I do (I just did a quick data pull from http://www.pro-football-reference.com).

    • Anthony Chiado

      By kick return I meant kickoff returns and punt returns. Brown has returned a lot more than 1 of those in the pass two years. Last year the Steelers best kick returner was Felix Jones and his farthest return was only 42 yards. Last year the Steelers best punt returner, other than Brown who came in third in the league in punt return yards, was no one. He was the only one who qualified for ESPN’s statistics. That’s what I mean by the only competent returner.

      • ralstar

        Well punt returns are not kick returns. Of course he returned punts. And the stats simply don’t back up you lack of competence argument. You note Jones’ 42 yards as the farthest. Are you expecting a kickoff TD every year? Last year there were 7 KO returned for TDs (by 6 players, Patterson had 2) in the entire league, so that can’t be a barometer for competence. And Jones’ 22.2 avg was close to league avg. Not saying Jones was outstanding but I think it’s pretty hard to argue incompetent.

        • Anthony Chiado

          Technically punts are kicks, so yes they are kick returns. Jones’ long return of 42 yards was second on the team only to Sanders’ 46. That 46 yard long was tied for 24th in the league, so yeah, I am expecting more. Jones’ average of 22.2 isn’t bad by any means, but it is still only 19th in the league (that 19th is also only out of 23, if it were out of 32 he would have been 26th in the league. Which isn’t exactly close to the league average). When you think about how most kicks are returned from a few yards deep in the end zone, that means he barely got it out to the 20 every time he returned the ball. Now that may not be incompetent, but it surely isn’t what you want, or even expect, out of a kick returner.

          • ralstar

            Ok, you can call a punt a kick, but in football, it is not a kick. And your piece would have read better if you used proper terminology. Mixing those 2 terms makes your analysis after it difficult to take seriously. If you’re going to write an article on stats, something that I find to be less of an “opinion” piece and based more on, you know, facts, you should make it unambiguous. And the fact is Brown only returned one kick.
            Your comment about how most kicks are returned from a few yards deep in the end zone – where are you getting this? I can not find one place that says more than 50% of kicks returned start a few yards deep. My suspension is you made this up from what you think happens. Your arguments are using anecdotal evidence as facts, and I can’t continue down this road. It’s futile to try and debate statistics with someone who isn’t basing their arguments on data.

          • Anthony Chiado

            I figured out that most kicks are returned from a few yards deep by watching football games Sunday, after Sunday, after Sunday. Not form looking for articles with statistics online.

          • Anthony Chiado

            And, using football terms, a kick encompasses both a punt and KICK-OFF. So I was actually using proper terminology.