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: T Marcus Gilbert
Stock Value: Even
Almost all the way across the board, with the exception of the left tackle position, their starters should in my estimation be regarded as having a stock value that has plateaued, neither falling nor continuing to rise.
And that is a compliment, because they are all playing at a high level, which is why they have become easily one of the best offensive line groups in the NFL. Their play down the stretch last season was the primary catalyst for their 9-0 run leading up to the AFC Championship game.
And you can bet that veteran right tackle Marcus Gilbert was an instrumental part of that. His only blips in recent years have been his injuries, and he unfortunately had another one—two, actually—during the 2016 season.
This is probably something that a lot of people might have forgotten by now, including myself until I began writing this, but Gilbert actually played through the entire 2016 season while dealing with a shoulder injury that he suffered in August. He already had that working against him from the first snap of the season opener.
But that never seemed to affect his play. It was only after he had his foot stepped on against—the Jets, I believe—that forced him to miss three games, with Chris Hubbard starting in his absence. When he returned, it took him a couple of games before he got back into form.
A former second-round draft pick by the Steelers in 2011, Gilbert was forced into the starting lineup in the second game of his rookie season after starter Willie Colon went down in the opener, and it has been his position ever since—barring frequent injuries.
In six seasons, he has only played 16 games twice, and in only one of those seasons was he reasonably healthy. He played through a pretty nasty ankle injury during the 2013 season. The 2015 season in which he remained healthy was, unsurprisingly, the best of his career.
There was a time not long ago that Gilbert was chasing Pro Bowl accolades, but he has since made peace with it. He deserves it, and he probably knows it—his teammates will tell him—but what he’s after is a different title: Super Bowl champion.