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 Arthur Moats
Stock Value: Down
At the age of 29, outside linebacker Arthur Moats is headed into his eighth NFL season, and the fourth with the Steelers, but he is probably not guaranteed a roster spot right now. Not after the teams drafted a pair of outside linebackers during the 2017 NFL Draft.
Moats has spent at least some period of time in each of his first three seasons with the team working in the starting lineup. After Jarvis Jones was injured in 2013, Moats replaced him on the right side while rotating with James Harrison before Harrison surpassed him.
He has entered each of the two previous seasons starting on the left side, but he was surpassed by then-rookie Bud Dupree toward the end of the 2015 season, and was displaced a handful of games into the 2016 season by Anthony Chickillo while Dupree was on injured reserve.
That Chickillo evidently passed him on the depth chart would certainly seem to make Moats more vulnerable, but it should probably go without saying that nothing is determined in May. There will be a competition for a potential fifth spot on the outside linebacker depth chart once training camp commences.
What should go without saying is that Moats, nor Chickillo, will be among the team’s top three pass rushers. Behind Dupree and Harrison as the presumptive and returning starters, and the influx of rookie first-round draft pick T.J. Watt, whom they will no doubt like to try to utilize early on, there might not be a lot of snaps to go around.
That position was strengthened when Mike Tomlin said in his post-pick press conference following the addition of Watt that he is still committed to moving away from the rotation at the outside linebacker position, which the Steelers were able to accomplish by the end of last season.
Moats is currently in the final year of a three-year contract and is due to make a couple million. While that is not an exorbitant amount of money for a backup, it could work into the tiebreaking procedure if a decision on a roster cut is close.
Even if he does make the roster, his role figures to be significantly reduced, and he will probably not be asked to play much. He may have to polish off his special-teams cleats in order to receive playing time.