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: Bryce Harris
Stock Value: Down
Evaluation Type: Minor, Short-Term
Reason: Expectations, Quality of Reps
I admit that this one is based more on expectations than anything else, but then again, isn’t that kind of how stocks work? They go up and down based on how you project them to perform in the future. The Steelers signed Bryce Harris after Jerald Hawkins, their projected swing tackle, was injured, so there was a latent assumption that he would potentially slide into that role.
Enthusiasm for the signing—if there was much to begin with—quickly diminished after going over his body of work, and at least based on an amalgamation of spring practice reports, he didn’t even take as many reps as a second-team tackle as you might have expected for somebody replacing the swing tackle on the roster.
After Hawins’ injury, the majority of the attention instead shifted to rookie Chuks Okorafor, a third-round draft pick who still has a lot of growing to do, currently just 20 years old (or at least he was when he was drafted. I never could find a reliable source his date of birth, and Wikipedia claims he was born in Michigan, so…).
As I talked about yesterday, Harris seems more likely to be vying for a potential ninth lineman position on the 53-man roster which may end up not even existing. And it should be pointed out that he has not been eligible for the practice squad for many years, so if he does not make the roster, he will not be with the team.
There are other candidates for that extra tackle role, whether it comes on the 53-man roster or on the practice squad, including Jake Rodgers and R.J. Prince. Neither of them are necessarily better, but both can go on the practice squad, and thus may stand a better chance of remaining with the team.
This is all provided that Okorafor is able to grow into the swing tackle role, which they may shoehorn him into regardless.