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: Coty Sensabaugh
Stock Value: Up
Evaluation Type: Minor, Short-Term
I know a lot of people probably don’t want to hear this, but Coty Sensabaugh is still on the roster and that’s not guaranteed to change in September. The veteran may have gotten benched after struggling (against a Pro Bowl wide receiver) last year when he was filling in for Joe Haden, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t redeem himself.
About a year ago at this point, the veteran Sensabaugh was being put into a competition with Ross Cockrell for a starting position. That changed when the Cleveland Browns released Haden and the Steelers signed him by the end of the same day.
Cockrell was traded and Sensabaugh became the top backup outside cornerback, but he didn’t have to play until the second half of the season. He did have an interception against his former team and a couple of pass deflections, but he also gave up some big plays.
After he got beaten twice by A.J. Green for touchdowns in the first half of the first meeting against the Cincinnati Bengals (one of which, if I recall correctly, could have been an offensive penalty), the coaching staff pulled him in favor of Cameron Sutton.
He remained on the bench for the rest of the year, even becoming a healthy scratch, but 2018 is a new year, and like Justin Hunter, has the opportunity to start over. Right now, he’s gotten time running with the second-team defense on the left side behind Haden.
And according to Alex Kozora, he’s made some nice plays, including a couple of passes defensed in the Seven Shots installment yesterday. He’s a guy who’s going to have his warts, of course. He’s a backup. But he’s still in the running to make the team, even if I think he’s still on the outside looking in. My point is, he’s not dead yet. And he probably helped himself a little yesterday.
What will be important to see is when Sutton takes his second-team snaps on the outside rather than in the slot. When he plays outside on the second team, who will be across from him: Sensabaugh, or Brian Allen?