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: Justin Hunter
Stock Value: Even
I must admit that establishing where Justin Hunter is right now is somewhat difficult for me to determine, and that is not surprising given the depth that the Steelers have at wide receiver right now. The simple fact of the matter is that it is going to take the next month and a half or so in order to separate the wheat from the chaff within this group.
I do think it’s safe to say that Hunter has a pretty good shot of making the 53-man roster, even though the Steelers saw the reinstatement of Martavis Bryant and the drafting of JuJu Smith-Schuster since the team signed him in free agency.
Many of the options toward the back half of the wide receiver depth chart—such that there is one right now—are far less experienced than is Hunter, who is a very talented player with some raw traits who has never had the opportunity of actually playing with a high-quality quarterback on a consistent basis.
That is something that he will get to experience with the Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and I think the coaching staff is really intrigued to see what he looks like with that pairing. He has had some fine production given his circumstances over the course of his career, but he can certainly put up even better numbers.
Of course, he will not be looked at as a potential starter barring rare circumstances anyway, but for what it is worth, Roethlisberger has seemed to take to Hunter somewhat. He has on multiple occasions brought him up unprompted and has had good things to say.
And there is nothing more important when it comes to a wide receiver looking to make a 53-man roster than having a fan in the person who is going to be throwing you the ball.
Still, the fact that Hunter is not—or probably is not—going to be a contribute on special teams in virtually any way could make it very difficult for him to make the team when you consider that almost everybody else outside of the top three or four is potentially a significant contributor in that area.