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 Vince Williams
Stock Value: Down
I’m not sure if this stock evaluation is going to cause some debate or not, but if people want to disagree with me saying that Vince Williams’ stock is down, then I would certainly have no problem with that. The reason that I am covering it in this manner right now is only because of the possibility of his losing playing time as a result of the offseason additions at his position.
Personally, in terms of him actually losing a starting job, that’s something I’m going to believe when I see. Do I think Mark Barron and Devin Bush are going to be full-time starters together in Week One? No, I do not. I think all of them will play in some capacity, though, and those capacities are in the process of being configured over the course of this offseason.
That will almost by necessity result in his losing some playing time unless Bush and Barron only rotate in and out with one another, but I don’t think that I see that happening, either. The team has already been rotating all three of them during OTAs so far.
One thing that has to be said for Williams is that he has displayed the perfect attitude throughout all this. He himself said that the coaches haven’t told them what the plan is at inside linebacker (because there isn’t one yet), but he has fully embraced everything that entails and has welcomed the role of helping the new faces acclimate either to a new defense or to the NFL in its entirety.
The argument could be made that it’s too early to say that his stock value is down with nothing being determined yet, but that lack of determination, and the possibility of a reduction in responsibilities, is in my opinion an indication of a lowering of stock value.
The case can also be made that the expectations of the offseason predicted this, but I don’t think landing a player like Bush could have been safely predicted. They had to do something they’ve literally done three times ever in order to get him, and reportedly moved up exactly as much as they needed to to do so. If they didn’t get Bush, they wouldn’t have been able to add a linebacker in the draft who could start and threaten Williams’ playing time, let alone starting job, in 2019.