With the 2016 NFL Draft now over and the bulk of the heavy lifting done with regard to the roster building process now out of the way, it is easier to begin to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand at certain positions, and what the implications might be of a variety of moves for certainly players.
And take stock is what we shall do, as every move has ramifications up and down the roster, so now we will take a look at some specific players and see how the team’s moves during the course of the offseason thus far, and more specifically since the draft, has sent their stock rising or falling.
Player: C Cody Wallace
Stock Value: Even
2015 was a good year and a bad year for Steelers eighth-year veteran interior offensive lineman Cody Wallace. It was good in that he actually got a chance to play quite a bit. The fact of the matter is that he played the entire season, including two postseason games, short of two snaps that were kneel downs at the end of a victory.
He had by far his most extensive experience last season, having only started six games—two at guard in 2014 and four at center in 2013—coming into the year. In fact, in spite of the fact that he was a 2008 fourth-round draft pick (by the 49ers), he only had just a handful of offensive snaps before joining Pittsburgh in 2013.
That he was able to gain just a tremendous amount of experience last year was a very good thing for him. But the fact of the matter is that a lot of the snaps that he did put on tape looked pretty bad, including any number of individual defeats one-on-one or from failed stunt pickups that led directly to negative plays.
He performed quite adequately, to be clear, for what you might expect when you have to replace your All-Pro center for an entire season. But his stock certainly can’t go up from here. He’s not going to win a starting job any time soon at the age of 31 and at his performance level.
But one thing that is secure is his roster spot, because he is the only other interior reserve lineman on the roster that has played a meaningful snap at guard or center—Chris Hubbard having logged seven snaps at the end of a blowout victory at guard in 2014, and B.J. Finney last year spending the season on the practice squad.
Given the significant lack of in-game experience outside of Wallace on the roster—which he ironically lacked before he was claimed off waivers by Pittsburgh, thereby displacing John Malecki, who made the initial 53-man roster—it would be rather hard to imagine the Steelers going in to the season with Hubbard and Finney as their only two interior reserve options.
But as for the future, that is another question. Wallace is in the final year of his contract, and will turn 32 in November. He has been at best an adequate player. There is no guarantee that this is not his last year in Pittsburgh, and that could largely hinge on what they find in training camp this year, and maybe even the draft next year.