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 has sent their stock rising or falling.
Player: RB Fitzgerald Toussaint
Stock Value: Up
Last year, Fitzgerald Toussaint ran the risk of simply being yet another numbers game casualty after he was released with the Ravens’ final roster cuts following the preseason. He was a second-year player as a former undrafted free agent, and certainly was not widely pursued after his release.
Toussaint was not even the first running back that the Steelers signed to their practice squad, instead signing Dominique Brown a day after the final roster cuts. But they released several of their initial practice squad players, replacing four players in total, with Brown among them, and Toussaint was his replacement.
He was ultimately a fourth or fifth option, behind, of course, Le’Veon Bell, then DeAngelo Williams, and, initially, Jordan Todman. The team even signed Isaiah Pead ahead of Toussaint, but after they got a better look at him during their late bye week, Pead was let go and Toussaint was promoted.
After a week or two, Toussaint was activated on game day over Todman, and remained the team’s backup over the veteran reserve until Williams was injured in the regular season finale, at which point he assumed the starting role during the team’s two-game playoff run.
And he performed quite admirably in the Wildcard game, gaining 58 yards on the round and adding another 60 yards through the air. His season ended on a bitter note after he lost a fumble near field-goal range in the Divisional round that led to the Broncos’ game-winning drive, but the team seems to remain confident in him.
Todman has already signed elsewhere in free agency. While the Steelers reportedly made an effort to trade up into the fifth round possibly targeting a running back, they were unable to do so by the time that the players they were interested in left the board.
In fact, they just released another running back yesterday, and now have six running backs on the roster, with three players having been signed as future players or undrafted free agents. Behind Bell and Williams, Toussaint is the only player who has carried a football in the past two years.
Following the free agency process and the draft, during which the running back position has been almost entirely neglected, it is clear that Toussaint’s stock is up. Where we currently stand, he is in the driver’s seat for a roster spot as the third running back on the depth chart, and the team seems fine with that situation right now.