With the 2017 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 certain 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, have sent their stock rising, falling, or breaking even.
Player: OLB Anthony Chickillo
Stock Value: Even
I was torn on whether or not to describe the stock value of Anthony Chickillo as either up, down, or even, and I believe that a case can be made for any of the three. In the end, I decided to essentially split the difference and call it even, weighing the theoretical against the practical.
Practically speaking, the numbers game at the position he plays got a lot more complicated with the drafting of two players, including a first-rounder. There are six outside linebackers, and it’s pretty unlikely, especially with this year’s deeper roster, for them to carry all of them. So somebody is going to have to go.
Chickillo might not be the favorite in that respect. After all, he is a core contributor on special teams, and he was running ahead of Arthur Moats for most of last season, although the latter in particular is not necessarily guaranteed to remain true.
But either way, he seems to be earmarked for a reduced role after spending much of last year starting, even if in a rotation. He figures at best to be the number four rusher behind the two starters, one of which was injured for most of last year, and the new first-round rookie, who is going to demand his opportunities and has the athleticism to make a few plays.
Still, when we’re talking about the player himself, we are talking about somebody who still is not at his ceiling. It wasn’t so long ago that he was playing a defensive lineman role in college, and the bodily transition that he has undergone is a process. He should be even further along in that regard this year than he was a year ago.
He had an early ankle injury that probably hindered him a bit as well, and a year after getting his first meaningful playing time, it is virtually assured that he will be a better-prepared contributor in year three.
I can’t help but recall all the reports of his flashes of talent during training camp that didn’t quite surface as much later on down the line. I think some of that player is still in there yet to be harnessed. That player isn’t going to turn into a starter, but he will be able to compete.