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: Morgan Burnett
Stock Value: Down
Evaluation: Minor Short-Term Effect
I’m going to try to be more specific from now on in explaining why I’ve decided to choose the evaluation in each instance, since it often enough ends up being a discussion of that subject rather than the actual substance of the piece.
In this case, with free agent safety Morgan Burnett, we are likely dealing with a very minor negative stock trend with a very short-term effect. According to reports yesterday, he is not fully healthy entering minicamp.
That is not a good thing, but it’s not a huge deal, and I’m not suggesting that it is. But it is a downward trend from what we knew of his status the day before yesterday, hence the evaluation. I’m not suggesting that he is going to struggle during the season because of an injury in minicamp or that he is going to lose his job.
But it’s not completely meaningless, either. While minicamp is just three days and he will have a long time between the end up minicamp and the start of training camp to heal, the reality is that there is a lot riding on him.
Sean Davis is a young safety who is being asked to work with a new starter next to him, when he is still learning things himself. He is even learning a new position, and the team is trying to figure out which safety they are more comfortable playing where.
On-field communication is a major theme this offseason as well, and it’s hard to do that when you’re not on the field. One of the major talking points was Burnett’s ability to be a valuable hub of communication, but he is on a new team now, not one he’s been on for nearly a decade. He’s still learning.
Still, while it’s a negative for right now, the odds of it being much of an issue by the time training camp starts are virtually nil. Mike Tomlin described the team’s current injuries as “nothing newsworthy”, and that included Burnett, who said he was fine despite being limited.