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: Anthony Chickillo
Stock Value: Even
The position of Anthony Chickillo is one that I wanted to revisit before we get things underway in Latrobe. It should go without saying that the Steelers did him no favors by adding yet another first-round draft pick at his position, but irrespective of his high-pedigreed competition, this training camp should be an interesting one for him.
You might recall that there were some absolutely glowing reports about Chickillo early on in training camp during his second season, including from our very own Alex Kozora, whose eyes we all trust. It is obvious to me that there are qualities about him that produce something to work with.
A former college 3-4 defensive end, the sixth-round pick was asked by the Steelers to transform his body in a process that took more than a year to really bear fruit, and it might be fair to argue that he should be in even finer shape entering year three than he was last year.
You might recall that Chickillo got banged up a fair bit last season for somebody who is not a full-time starter. As best I can tell, he got hurt at least four times, including twice in the preseason. He suffered an ankle injury in the first preseason game and did not dress for the second. Then he suffered a right foot injury in the preseason finale.
During the regular season, he suffered a left knee injury in the game against the Chiefs in Week Five and he wore a compression sleeve on his leg after that. He suffered yet another ankle injury late in the regular season and did not play in the regular season finale or the first two playoff games.
One has to wonder how well he would be able to play if he were able to actually keep away from the injuries…but one also has to wonder if he can play without all the injuries. At least four injuries in like…maybe 400 snaps including the preseason is an issue.
Despite all that, the bottom line is that he could struggle significantly to even see any playing time behind James Harrison, Bud Dupree, and T.J. Watt, as I mentioned in a Devil’s Advocate scenario recently, regardless of his health. Not that his fan club will let that detract from their belief in his peerless excellence.