As promised, after each preseason game I’ll release an updated player stock report based on the most recent practices and in-game performances by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Today we look at whose stock is up and whose stock is down heading into the final week of training camp.
1. LB Ryan Shazier
Been talking about it a lot, but Shazier has been flying all over the field making stops, and has stayed healthy despite a substantial amount of preseason playing time (I don’t believe in jinxes). He’s always been one of the best athletes at his position, but his ability to harness his physical gifts and combine them with a much-improved football IQ has made Shazier even more impactful. Could be a huge season coming for the Ohio State product.
2. WR Martavis Bryant
Maybe this is an easy selection based on his superb Friday night showing in Jacksonville, but it is becoming readily apparent just how fantastic a sophomore season Bryant could have this year. I still want to see more consistent technique, but he’s smarter, stronger, and has all the tools to become one of the game’s most terrifying vertical threats.
3. OLB Anthony Chickillo
I’m dying to see Chickillo get some reps against higher-quality offensive linemen, as his play certainly seems to have earned it. His relentless motor is maybe his most impressive trait, but Chickillo is also very pass rush savvy, showing the desired physicality and power at the point of attack. If he can learn to use his hands properly and develop his counter game, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him make more of an impact early on in his career than Bud Dupree.
1. OLB Bud Dupree
It has been a rough two preseason games to start the year for Dupree, as he consistently looks like a man without a plan coming off the edge. The speed of the game is just overwhelming for him right now, and his lack of functional strength is showing up consistently on tape. The fanbase needs to accept the fact that, despite Dupree’s first round status, he’s simply a very raw player that will flash and then disappear frequently right now. He’s a long-term payoff player with alluring physical gifts, but very little technique or awareness at this point in his young career. Don’t expect a big impact this season, and certainly not an every-down basis.
2. QB Landry Jones
The Steelers have given Jones every opportunity to prove he can represent the future at quarterback, but try as he might, he simply doesn’t have that kind of ability. Jones has made strides in his command of the offense and football IQ, but so many inaccurate throws and displays of poor mechanics have marred each of his preseason performances. Great kid who has worked hard by all accounts, but simply is not an NFL-caliber quarterback in terms of his physical abilities.
3. OG B.J. Finney
My main pre-draft concern about Finney working as an offensive guard in the NFL was his limited movement skills and below-average athleticism to hit pulling or second level blocks with regularity. He’s flashed a great anchor in pass protection, and works his butt off to maximize his tangible traits, but he may be more limited than we originally thought. He’s a battler that will continue to fight even when he’s physically outmanned, but that only goes so far in the NFL. Finney needs to have three strong showings to close out the preseason if he wants to lock up a roster spot.