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: Doran Grant
Stock Value: Up
It is typically not a good sign when you are a fourth-round draft pick who made the initial 53-man roster only to be released a day later. It is also not a good sign when you are a fourth-round draft pick who made a roster and then fail to go unclaimed by all 31 other teams.
But it does help assuage hard feelings and bruised egos when you get called back up from the practice squad to the 53-man roster halfway through the season, especially if there is some indication that the move was even in part triggered by other teams sniffing around, as has been suggested when rookie cornerback Doran Grant was called up last year.
Not that he had an active season thereafter, spending much of his time on the inactive list, and occasionally seeing time on special teams. He saw one snap on defense, though I can’t even recall when it happened or in what context.
Since last season, the Steelers have parted ways with three cornerbacks, and have only replaced two of them with the return of Senquez Golson from injured reserve and the drafting of Artie Burns in the first round.
Because of that, Grant figures to be a preliminary favorite to win the fifth roster spot at the cornerback position, and, quite frankly, I can’t recall a time when they might have last entered a season carrying fewer than five cornerbacks.
On top of that, the Steelers have not played coy about the fact that they do consider the former Ohio State Buckeye as a player with position versatility, with the potential to move to safety if the need demands it or it gives him a better opportunity to make the roster.
The Steelers, naturally, like players who can do a variety of things for them, and Grant will likely be given the opportunity to showcase the different things he can do for the team. The fact that the team did not double dip at the cornerback position in the draft, as many suspected that they would, should be a good sign for him, however, at the position he was drafted to play.
Grant’s stock is also up because he has a special teams background, and the Steelers lost several key special teams contributors. He has an opportunity to set himself up as a fixture there to keep his roster spot. He will also be entering training camp higher in the pecking order, not logging time behind the likes of B.W. Webb and Kevin Fogg.