Comparing The Buffalo Bills To The Pittsburgh Steelers

ORCHARD PARK NY - NOVEMBER 28: Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 28 2010 in Orchard Park New York. Pittsburgh won 19-16 in overtime. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Yesterday, in completing our Buffalo Bills roster evaluations in the form of this odd-looking depth chart, many of you asked how the Bills would compare to some of the league's elite teams evaluated through a similar lens.

I live to serve - and right now, it doesn't get much more elite than this year's Super Bowl participants, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers. We'll compare the Steelers first, as they're sort of the best organization in all professional sports; the "gold standard," if you will.

Pos. Group 1 (A) Group 2 (B, C) Group 3 (D, E)
WR2
83 - Lee Evans
11 - Roscoe Parrish
86 - David Nelson
19 - Donald Jones
18 - Naaman Roosevelt
LT
77 - Demetrius Bell 71 - Ed Wang
LG
67 - Andy Levitre
C
70 - Eric Wood 63 - Geoff Hangartner
RG

60 - Kraig Urbik
76 - Chad Rinehart
RT

79 - Erik Pears
TE

80 - David Martin
84 - Scott Chandler
WR1
13 - Stevie Johnson 81 - Marcus Easley
QB
14 - Ryan Fitzpatrick 10 - Levi Brown
RB
22 - Fred Jackson 21 - C.J. Spiller
FB

38 - Corey McIntyre
DE

92 - Alex Carrington
99 - Marcus Stroud
NT 95 - Kyle Williams
96 - Torell Troup
DE
98 - Dwan Edwards 91 - Spencer Johnson
SLB

90 - Chris Kelsay
57 - Danny Batten
MLB

54 - Andra Davis
50 - Akin Ayodele
WLB

51 - Paul Posluszny
53 - Reggie Torbor
JLB
52 - Arthur Moats 55 - Shawne Merriman
59 - Antonio Coleman
CB2
29 - Drayton Florence
28 - Leodis McKelvin
27 - Reggie Corner
SS
20 - Donte Whitner 43 - Bryan Scott
FS
31 - Jairus Byrd 37 - George Wilson
CB1

24 - Terrence McGee
K
9 - Rian Lindell
P
8 - Brian Moorman
LS

65 - Garrison Sanborn

 

Pos. Group 1 (A) Group 2 (B, C) Group 3 (D, E)
WR2 86 - Hines Ward
88 - Emmanuel Sanders
84 - Antonio Brown
82 - Antwaan Randle-El
LT 78 - Max Starks

LG
68 - Chris Kemoeatu
79 - Trai Essex
61 - Chris Scott
C 53 - Maurkice Pouncey
64 - Doug Legursky
RG 73 - Ramon Foster
RT 74 - Willie Colon 71 - Flozell Adams
67 - Kyle Jolly
TE 83 - Heath Miller 89 - Matt Spaeth
WR1 17 - Mike Wallace

QB 7 - Ben Roethlisberger
4 - Byron Leftwich
10 - Dennis Dixon
RB 34 - Rashard Mendenhall
33 - Isaac Redman
21 - Mewelde Moore
27 - Jonathan Dwyer
FB
DE 99 - Brett Keisel 93 - Nick Eason
NT 98 - Casey Hampton
96 - Chris Hoke
DE 91 - Aaron Smith 96 - Ziggy Hood

SLB 56 - LaMarr Woodley
MLB 51 - James Farrior 50 - Larry Foote
WLB 94 - Lawrence Timmons 57 - Keyaron Fox
JLB 92 - James Harrison
97 - Jason Worilds
CB2
20 - Bryant McFadden
22 - William Gay
23 - Keenan Lewis
SS 43 - Troy Polamalu

FS 25 - Ryan Clark
26 - Will Allen
29 - Ryan Mundy
CB1 24 - Ike Taylor
K
4 - Shaun Suisham
P 9 - Daniel Sepulveda
LS

Buffalo has one player that I consider among the league's elite at his position; Pittsburgh has five, with four of them defenders. Buffalo has a combined five offensive and defensive linemen in Group 2 or above; Pittsburgh has eight.

Aside from the Group 1 disparity, this is the most significant factor in the differences between the teams: Buffalo has 18 players in Group 2 or higher; Pittsburgh has 22 - and you could argue some of the Group 3 Steelers higher on the rubric (like Hoke, Worilds and McFadden).

But the biggest difference is in elite players. Buffalo just doesn't have the elite talent; they have some complementary talent (though not enough in the lines), but no elite talent to carry them above their general talent level. You can see why Buffalo had Pittsburgh dead to rights in their overtime loss during the regular season, and you can also see why the Steelers are perennial playoff contender, and why the Bills are not.

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