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 Maurkice Pouncey
Stock Value: Up
Yesterday was a big day for Maurkice Pouncey—or rather, it was a big day for the perception of Maurkice Pouncey, whose status has been in a bit of a fog since August, when he suffered an Achilles injury in the preseason after getting rolled up on while getting ahead of a play to get downfield and block.
Following the injury, Pouncey underwent an initial surgery and was placed on the injured reserve list with a return designation, and the initial prognosis was that he would likely return at some point in the second half of the regular season, perhaps even near midseason.
That plan went awry, and the talk of Pouncey grew quiet. The only time Mike Tomlin would talk about the All-Pro center was when prompted, and he did so in vague tones at best, if he didn’t simply decline to address his situation at all.
Tomlin hadn’t even given any clear indications about his status at any point this offseason, beyond simply saying that the plan was to be cautious with the team’s injured players during the early stages of the offseason and perhaps even late into it.
You’ll note that we even speculated on Monday that Pouncey might not be allowed to participate at the outset of OTAs, which began yesterday. But we were all in for a pleasant surprise when he not only was a full participant, but stated that he plans to take part in all facets of the team’s offseason.
Pouncey also confirmed that he had at least three surgeries due to complications stemming from his injury, though he would not specify if it was more than three. The veteran said that there was never a point that he was close to returning from injured reserve last season.
Several months removed from the end of the season, however, he is ready to go, and that is tremendous news not just for him, but for the team as a whole, which spent much of last year masking the struggles of Cody Wallace, who started 16 games in Pouncey’s place.
Since Pouncey last played, the Steelers re-signed his long-time running mate in Ramon Foster, the only lineman with a longer tenure, and David DeCastro became an All-Pro himself. in 2016, the team should have its finest interior line play in about a decade.