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: Olasunkanmi Adeniyi
Stock Value: Up
Evaluation Type: Minor, Short-Term
The Pittsburgh Steelers came out of not just the 2018 NFL Draft, but all of free agency without adding a pass rusher. They did eventually add Olasunkanmi Adeniyi out of Toledo as an undrafted free agent, a player that I had in the seventh round during my mock draft (for the seventh-round pick they traded to move up for Mason Rudolph).
Given that the team is down two outside linebackers from last year’s roster, it stands to reason that there is a reasonable chance that a player like Adeniyi could make the team. That would especially be the case if they intend to carry five outside linebackers as they often have done in recent years, but a fifth must prove to be worth it.
His biggest obstacle will be Keion Adams, who I’m assuming has been running with the second-team defense along with Anthony Chickillo, though I have not seen that confirmed anywhere. I have read that Adeniyi has been running with the third team, and that he has had success.
Specifically, he has had success as a pass-rusher. And, yes, he is working against third-string tackles, which at that point is likely to include names like Bryce Harris, R.J. Prince, Larson Graham, and Joseph Cheek.
Still, there is something that you can tell from a pass-rusher no matter who he is going up against in the way that he performs his maneuvers and sets them up. You can see if he has the bend to be effective if he’s turning the corner on a Roomba. It doesn’t really matter.
Of course the odds of him carving out a role for himself on defense are slim to none in 2018, but showing the ability to be effective as a pass-rusher is usually a pretty good indication of a player who can contribute on special teams, and that is how he would make the roster. Plus, he has that number 92 jersey.