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: Ramon Foster
Stock Value: Even
Evaluation Type: Minor,
Reason: Consistency, Age
There was a time not long ago that Ramon Foster was the Steelers’ most consistent lineman. In the two seasons that Maurkice Pouncey missed due to injury, I would argue that he was the team’s best offensive lineman in those years. He wasn’t flashy—he never is—but he played mistake-free and penalty-free.
I don’t think he’s coming off his best season in 2017 by any means, but he still continues to play at a generally high level, with the occasional injury keeping him out of the lineup for a couple of games per season.
One does have to wonder how many years he has left as a starter, this being his age-32 season, and many linemen don’t even make it this far, but I wouldn’t see he’s necessarily shown any signs of slowing down. It helps that he was never particularly fast to begin with.
But despite the knocks on his athleticism, he hasn’t really ever had issues, at least in recent years, carrying out his assignments in space, on a pull block for example. I recall that he put a couple of defenders on the ground pulling out of his left guard spot last season alone.
Ultimately, what we know is that he is approaching ‘old age’ for linemen. We know that he is in the final year of his contract. We know that B.J. Finney has five very encouraging starts under his belt at left guard over the past two years as well. Do we know that he is the heir apparent, or that there is an informal succession plan? Well, no.
For all we know, Foster could play until Ben Roethlisberger retires, like Pouncey says he will. Heading into his 10th season already, he knows exactly what he’s doing, and what he needs to do both physically and mentally, to take care of himself and others for the long haul of an NFL season.