Now that the 2018 NFL Draft is in the books, and the roster heading into the offseason is close to finalized—though always fluid—it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past few months.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we head toward training camp.
Player: Jordan Dangerfield
Stock Value: Down
Things seemed to be going well for Jordan Dangerfield early on in the season. The Steelers released Mike Mitchell and Robert Golden, two of the four safeties who were on the team last year. They also released William Gay, who would probably have been viewed as a candidate to move full-time to safety this offseason had things broken in another direction.
Then they went and signed Morgan Burnett in free agency, to replace Mitchell. And then they added another safety in Nat Berhe to replace Golden. That’s already a full accounting of what was lost. But there was still the prospect of J.J. Wilcox’s bloated contract.
The 2018 NFL Draft was probably a bummer for Dangerfield as the Steelers had a field day with the safety position. They used their top pick in the draft on Terrell Edmunds, as safety out of Virginia Tech, but then they double dipped in round five with Penn State’s Marcus Allen, a player they readily offered was the highest player remaining on their board, and whom they clearly graded higher than where he ultimately was selected.
So that was six safeties already. Somebody had to go, and that was obviously Wilcox. But still, there is five. And the Steelers only kept four safeties in the previous season. So where is the room for him, after spending all of last year on the practice squad?
Outside of injuries taking care of things for him, he is going to have to try to unseat Allen or Berhe, and to do so he is going to have to light it up on special teams in the preseason, because that is what the fifth safety’s primary function will be.
Dangerfield at least has prior NFL experience. He was on the Steelers’ 53-man roster for all of the 2016 season, and even started two games in place of Golden, who was starting at the time. He performed well in those games. And yet it was back to the practice squad a year later, even though Wilcox was the only addition from one season to the next. Now they’ve added four.