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: Lavon Hooks
Stock Value: Even
We recently talked about another interior defensive lineman who is a longshot to make the 53-man roster in this series as we get toward the end, which will coincide with the start of training camp tomorrow as players report to Latrobe.
That was Roy Philon, who has gotten frequent flyer miles, this being his third time signing with the Steelers to their offseason roster. Lavon Hooks is yet another repeat example along the interior defensive line, as Pittsburgh had him in training camp last year as well.
The 6’3”, 312-pound Hooks originally signed with the Packers as an undrafted free agent following the 2015 NFL Draft. Unfortunately for him, he was released with the first wave of roster cuts that year, and that didn’t include any kind of signing bonus to go along with it. All he collected were his training camp practice checks.
He didn’t end up catching on to anybody’s practice squad in 2015. I do not believe that he made anybody’s practice squad last season, either, after he too failed to make the Steelers’ roster. Pittsburgh instead chose to carry a pair of defensive ends on their practice squad, even still didn’t sign him even after one was called up late in the year.
But they did think enough of Hooks to bring him back, even if they are for some reason listing him as a defensive end rather than a tackle, which is what he most likely will be playing. Let’s just say I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t. Philon is smaller and plays inside.
Mike Thornton is another smaller interior tackle that they have used on their 90-man roster. For what it’s worth, when Johnny Maxey was originally signed last year, they listed him as a defensive tackle, and that is how they list him in their transaction reports for when he was signed to the practice squad and then called up.
In other words, don’t take it too literally. Maxey was obviously an end, and Hooks is obviously a tackle. And it’s not altogether impossible that Daniel McCullers could struggle enough to make things interesting in one way or another, including the possibility of keeping Maxey over him and carrying Hooks or Philon on the practice squad instead.