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: Cameron Sutton
Stock Value: Up
Evaluation Type: Moderate, Moderate-Term
Reason: Versatility, Quality of Reps
Cameron Sutton is revisioning himself as a do-everything player in his second season, suggesting that he be called a defensive back rather than a cornerback because he believes that he is capable of playing any role in the secondary.
And he has also expressed a willingness to play any role as long as it gets him on the field. Right now, he is the top backup at both the left and right outside spots as well as in the slot at the cornerback position, and he has also acknowledged that he got some practice reps at safety as well.
While it’s probably not that likely that he will see the field as a true safety any time soon considering the extensive investments they have made there this offseason—signing two players in unrestricted free agency and drafting two more—he is hoping to make himself eligible for that assignment should the situation ever arise.
It could also come in an improvised role in the middle of a play, shifting back to a safety position to give the offense a look that they were not expecting. The Steelers have used their nickel defender in this way in the past, particularly with William Gay.
We have also heard from multiple beat writers, including Bob Labriola, who believe that he may even provide competition for Artie Burns as the right outside starting cornerback opposite Joe Haden, though no such reporters actually seemed to think it was very likely he would be given the job.
Still, the team has clearly expressed its fondness for Sutton and want to find ways to get him on the field. They even used a seven-defensive-back look late last season after he impressed during his one start against the New England Patriots.