On Wednesday Pro Football Focus (PFF) announced its Pro Bowl team for the 2020 season. While the Pittsburgh Steelers failed to place an offensive player or specialist on PFF’s list, the Steelers did have a pair of defenders make the team, those being outside linebacker T.J. Watt and defensive lineman Cameron Heyward.
Both Watt and Heyward are PFF’s highest-rated players in the AFC at their respective positions, with Watt coming in ahead of Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns and Joey Bosa of the Los Angeles Chargers.
“T.J. Watt has been on a quest for Defensive Player of the Year for a couple of seasons now and currently leads all edge rushers with 68 total pressures,” notes writer Sam Monson.
For his part, Heyward edged out Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs and DeForest Buckner of the Indianapolis Colts.
“Heyward may be the best interior lineman in the league not named Aaron Donald, and he has plenty of help around him in Pittsburgh to ensure he can’t be double-teamed to death the way some other players can,” offered Monson.
Both players also made PPF’s 2020 Midseason All-Pro Team, which included Steelers kick returner Ray-Ray McCloud as a second-teamer. Yet McCloud’s play fell off sharply in the second half of the season and he didn’t attract end-of-season notice.
The Rest of the AFC North
In case you’re wondering, the Cleveland Browns placed a whopping seven players on PFF’s Pro Bowl roster, six on offense (including four offensive linemen!) and one player on defense, the aforementioned Garrett.
The players on offense were running back Nick Chubb, fullback Andy Janovich offensive tackle Jack Conklin, offensive guards Wyatt Teller and Joel Bitonio, plus center J.C. Tretter.
Meanwhile, the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals had just one honoree each, with cornerback Marlon Humphrey and safety Jessie Bates III their respective representatives.
Actual Pro Bowl voting ends tonight at midnight, with this year’s Pro Bowlers to be named in the coming days. There will not be a Pro Bowl game played this season, however, due to COVID-19.
The Pro Bowl was originally slated to take place in Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium on January 31, 2021. The 2022 Pro Bowl will be awarded to Las Vegas, per the league.
Pittsburgh’s Biggest Offseason Need?
On Thursday, PFF also opined about the biggest offseason need for every NFL team.
“You could throw quarterback on here too,” began Michael Renner, when writing about the Steelers, before arguing that offensive tackle is where the team could have “actual holes,” in part because left tackle Alejandro Villanueva is a pending unrestricted free agent and because Chukwuma Okorafor “hasn’t exactly impressed at right tackle.”
Zach Banner, who is out for the year with a torn ACL, is a candidate to man one of the tackle spots next year, assuming the Steelers are able to re-sign him. Banner is a pending unrestricted free agent, as is left guard Matt Feiler, who has considerable experience playing tackle.
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