Annually, the good folks over at Bleacher Report (there are a few, and Matt Miller is one of them) release the NFL Top 1000 list. A list of the top players in the NFL at their respective positions. Instead of having 22 separate articles, I'm just going to update this thread whenever a new position is released. So far, Quarterback and Left Tackle have been released.
B/R NFL 1000: Top 65 Quarterbacks
10. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Watching Ben Roethlisberger (6'5", 241 lbs, 10 seasons) throw the football, you come to appreciate his placement and timing skills. While not a touch-passer or the most conventional quarterback, he puts the ball in a winning position for his receivers. And that’s all you can ask of a passer. The run-after-catch ability of the Pittsburgh playmakers all goes back to Roethlisberger’s placement.
Arm Strength 14/15
Roethlisberger's big right arm fuels the Steelers offense. He’s able to put the ball on a line if throwing out-routes at 25 yards, but he also shows good touch and arc on deep balls. The spin and velocity aren’t always perfect, but he can get the ball anywhere on the field.
Decision Making 27/30
Last year we noted that Roethlisberger could stand to improve here, and he did. By one rating point. The big-armed quarterback isn’t afraid of challenging a defense, but that gets him into trouble with turnovers and batted passes. Learning to better work through progressions and get the ball delivered on time is the one step he could take to improve again next year.
Back-foot throws and an altered release point will knock his mechanics score down a little, but you have to appreciate Roethlisberger’s mentality. He’s a gunslinger, and while that may not be pretty or technically sound, it works.
A great example of being mobile while not being very fast, Roethlisberger does a good job moving in the pocket and using his impressive strength and bulk to break tackles and extend the play.
The Steelers' up-and-down season mirrored Roethlisberger’s play. The big quarterback struggled as the season began, but he and the offense settled into a consistent, productive rhythm and were a team to beat by Week 17.
B/R NFL 1000: Top 35 Left Tackles
29. Mike Adams, Pittsburgh Steelers
Pass Block 20/50
Mike Adams (6’7”, 323 lbs, two seasons) is more along the lines of your “lean” offensive tackle. But he doesn’t use his size well in pass protection. He bends too much at the waist and often gets off balance when engaging with pass-rushers. He lacks much of a punch upon initial contact and can easily be crossed over his face.
Run Block 36/50
Adams carries his weight well when getting to the second level in the run game. He displays quick feet and an understanding of pad level. He’ll finish off plays and does a good job of driving through defenders once he’s locked on them.
Adams showed some versatility for offensive coordinator Todd Haley and the Pittsburgh Steelers offense last season. He played both tackle spots and lined up as an “eligible receiver” often when the Steelers wanted to go with heavy personnel. He has a lot of work to do in his pass-blocking technique, but there’s enough there athletically that he should continue to see the field in some capacity.
24. Kelvin Beachum, Pittsburgh Steelers
Pass Block 34/50
Kelvin Beachum (6’3”, 303 lbs, two seasons) doesn’t fit the mold of the prototypical left tackle. His shorter arms make it difficult for him to sit and anchor versus bull-rushing pass-rushers without giving ground. It also makes it difficult for him to push speed-rushers up the field. He displays quick feet when he’s sliding in protection. And his issues seem to stem from how he balances from the waist. Beachum doesn’t provide much in the way of upper body strength, but he slides his feet well enough that he could develop nicely with more work on his core balance point.
Run Block 29/50
Beachum needs work in establishing leverage in the running game. He’s often long-armed and standing tall once engaged with defenders, allowing them to move him out of the way with relative ease. He possesses light enough feet that he could develop much more in this part of his game. He’ll need to work on getting low off the snap and creating leverage before making initial contact. He doesn’t look interested in attacking defenders off the ball, rather just locking up and making sure he doesn’t miss his man.
The former seventh-round pick in 2012 might not be anything close to a finished product now, but after playing all five offensive line positions for the Steelers in 2013, Beachum provides them a wealth of versatility. We’ll soon see how the Steelers approach making upgrades to the offensive line this offseason, which will tell us how they feel about Beachum competing with Mike Adams for the left tackle spot next season.
-- I'm surprised Adams wasn't 35th, but Beachum seems to be a little low. I would have had him as a top 15 LT. Roethlisberger, as always, is undervalued. Having Matt Ryan ahead of him is a little silly.