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: ILB Mark Barron
Stock Value: Up
Before anybody comments, I am well aware that I just talked about Mark Barron a couple of days ago. However, one of the primary purposes of this series of articles is to offer a responsive analysis of recent and current trends and developments, based on my (yes, subjective) interpretation of said forces.
I argued just a couple of days ago that the drafting of Devin Bush was an indication of Barron’s stock being down after he was signed in free agency back in March with the intention, or so he thought, of being a three-down linebacker.
With the start of OTAs, however, according to Barron himself, the team has so far adopted a three-man rotation at inside linebacker including himself, Bush, and Vince Williams, all three of them taking their turns watching the first-team defense from the perimeter rather than on the field. The latter element was the recent development to which this is a response.
The fact that they are utilizing a three-man rotation at this point of the offseason doesn’t necessarily mean much. It’s hard to draw concrete conclusions from that. At the least, it figures to be an indication of the team’s intention of getting as long and good a look at their two new faces at the position.
If there really is a legitimate possibility of the team’s two starting linebackers this year not featuring Williams, then that is a significant boost in Barron’s stock. He actually took the first snaps of OTAs, over Bush, working with Williams.
Where it all goes from here obviously will tell the meat of the tale, and very much remains to be seen, but the Steelers obviously didn’t sign Barron with the expectation that he was going to serve as an expensive bench warmer. He should fit in somewhere, and even this experience is part of the process of figuring out where. Could it be in the starting lineup? Absolutely. And maybe not as just a seat warmer for Bush.