Now that the 2019 NFL Draft is underway, 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: DB Kameron Kelly
Stock Value: Up
Well, this would have to be the obvious one, right? The only reason that I didn’t make Kelly the subject of my daily stock watch yesterday is because I already had another article going up about him, and I prefer to try to limit the number of times a single player is discussed in a short period of time unless it can’t be helped.
Kelly was originally signed as a college free agent by the Cowboys last year, but he was released during training camp and did not even participate in a preseason game. He would join the San Diego Fleet in October of last year and participated with them in the AAF’s lone and aborted season, after which the Steelers signed him.
There, he played both cornerback and safety, and even wide receiver. He was playing cornerback when he had a three-interception game and was named the AAF Defensive Player of the Week. But no matter where you play, the Steelers like ball skills.
With Sean Davis sitting out OTAs right now with a minor injury, Kelly was given the opportunity to work at free safety with the first-team defense. It is not clear where he was lining up prior to that, or where he will work when Davis gets back, but this is obviously a golden opportunity to show the coaching staff what he is capable of doing.
The best thing that a fringe player can hope for is simply an opportunity. To be given a good look. When the eyes are on you, that’s when you have to ball out, and that’s how you make a roster. Mike Hilton did that during OTAs in 2016 and he’s still the team’s starting slot cornerback.
Kelly was probably not on a lot of people’s radar before that, but if he looked good to the coaching staff, that will really help his bid to make the team this year. His ability to play multiple positions, and the lack of depth at safety, will play in his favor. As will the fact that the two backups at safety, Jordan Dangerfield and Marcus Allen, profile more as a strong than free type.