NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

5 Reasons Why the Pittsburgh Steelers Won’t Win the AFC North in 2014

5 Reasons Why the Pittsburgh Steelers Won't Win the AFC North in 2014

Jarvis Jones
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

After nearly overcoming an 0-4 start to make the playoffs in 2013, many are predicting that the Pittsburgh Steelers will reclaim the AFC North title this season. However, here are five reasons why they won't.

5. No. 2 WR Won't Step Up

Markus Wheaton
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

5. No. 2 WR Won't Step Up

Markus Wheaton
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

There isn't a solidified starting receiver on the roster after Antonio Brown. If one doesn't rise to the occasion, Brown's production could take a hit seeing as though he'll likely attract double teams. Markus Wheaton will enter camp as the favorite to start opposite Brown, but he only caught six balls as a rookie. Martavis Bryant, the club's fourth-round pick, will compete for snaps, but enters the league as a raw route-runner and hands-catcher.

4. Ike Taylor Won't Return to Form

Ike Taylor
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

4. Ike Taylor Won't Return to Form

Ike Talyor
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

As recently as 2012, cornerback Ike Taylor was a solid starter. In 2013, however, at 33 years old, Taylor was repeatedly victimized in coverage. The 1,043 passing yards he allowed were the most in the entire NFL. Taylor is still penciled in as a starter in advance of training camp, which will be problematic without drastic improvement. At 34 years old, Steelers fans shouldn't expect any.

3. Young LBs Won't Produce

Jarvis Jones
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

3. Young LBs Won't Produce

Jarvis Jones
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers have invested consecutive first-round picks on linebackers, nabbing Jarvis Jones last April and Ryan Shazier this May. However, neither will live up to the hype in 2014. Jones was a non-factor rushing the passer as a rookie despite specializing in hunting quarterbacks at Georgia, and Shazier is seemingly too small to hold up versus the run inside.

2. Cincinnati Bengals Are Division's Most Complete Team

Giovani Bernard
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

2. Cincinnati Bengals Are Division's Most Complete Team

Giovani Bernard
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals ran away with the AFC North in 2013 for good reason: they're the division's most complete team. Cincinnati ranked in the top 10 in passing yards, opponents passing yards and opponents rushing yards last season. With the addition of running back Jeremy Hill in the draft, their running game, which ranked 18th, could be on the verge of improvement too. The Steelers don't measure up.

1. Starting OTs Will Struggle

Kelvin Beachum
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

1. Starting OTs Will Struggle

Kelvin Beachum
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will throw behind an offensive line with questions at both tackle spots. Kelvin Beachum, who struggled as a run blocker in 2013, projects to start at left tackle and Marcus Gilbert, who was below average in pass protection and run blocking last season, will likely start at right. If both struggle, it could be a long season for Roethlisberger and the Steelers' rushing attack.