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: WR Darrius Heyward-Bey
Stock Value: Down
I don’t think it would even be fair to sugarcoat it and characterize the stock value of veteran wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey as anything but down. Regardless of what he is or is not able to do on the field for the Steelers, there is no getting around the fact that they may very well have the most crowded wide receiver room in the NFL.
Originally brought on board to Pittsburgh in 2014 on a one-year contract, Heyward-Bey is hoping to enter his fourth season with the Steelers in 2017, but he knows as well as anybody that he has never had a tougher hill to climb for a roster spot throughout his entire career, since he was a first-round draft pick in 2009.
It goes without saying at this point in his career that Heyward-Bey never developed into the sort of wide receiver that the Raiders envisioned him to be, but they, of course, fell in love with his speed and hoped that the rest would follow.
He has grown quite a bit as a player, but he never really developed the hands or the coordination to be a consistent, quality starting wide receiver. He has proven to be more than adequate depth for the Steelers over time, with a cameo in a bigger role if necessary, but Pittsburgh is deluged with such players now.
Heyward-Bey has even taken to working with his old track coach this summer in order to regain, or retain, his speed. He suffered a foot injury in the middle of last season that might have been a bit of a wake-up call for him. Could he still be the lone wide receiver that can outrun Ryan Shazier?
Unfortunately for him, this year it might not just come down to whether or not he can be a high-level contributor on special teams simply due to the number of talented wide receivers that they have on hand. Especially if somebody like Sammie Coates also contributes on special teams.
Regardless of all that, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have his veteran presence on the roster. The younger wide receivers do look up to him, and he cares about them, and the team. It would be unfortunate to see him go because of the quiet role he plays.