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: R.J. Prince
Stock Value: Sold
It’s not usual for me to cover ‘sold’ stocks on consecutive days. I don’t think I’ve ever even had the opportunity to do so before since I began this offseason series. But with the Steelers making some marginally significant cuts recently, I though two players put on the waiver wire in particular deserved at least some kind of send-off.
The first was Keion Adams, a seventh-round outside linebacker who came to the team via Western Michigan in 2017. A shoulder injury sidelined him for his rookie season, and then he spent 2018 on the practice squad, but earlier this week he was released in favor of a rookie tryout player from a MAC school.
Also joining him on the waiver wire is R.J. Prince, a player who was a tryout invitee to rookie minicamp a year ago out of North Carolina. He went from tryout to practice squad player and seemed to be on a positive future trajectory. It was also reported that the coaches liked him and that he could be a player to watch in 2019.
Evidently the 2019 coaching staff, which admittedly is now headed by Shaun Sarrett along the offensive line rather than Mike Munchak, disagreed, or else they saw something they didn’t like from Prince during rookie minicamp. Perhaps he was out of shape.
Either way, he was replaced by Damian Prince out of Maryland. As we’ve mentioned multiple times recently, Damian Prince was teammates with Derwin Gray, the Steelers’ seventh-round pick this year. They served as the bookend offensive tackles for the Terrapin offense and were senior leaders and pillars of the program in 2018.
R.J. Prince played tackle in college but worked inside and outside with the Steelers, and that was thought to have given him an edge. Gray will have to show that he can play inside as well. The other Prince might have to slim down to do so.
As for the original Prince, he reportedly has a workout scheduled with the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens have already added one 2018 undrafted free agent the Steelers signed last year in inside linebacker Matthew Thomas. They still retain Olasunkanmi Adeniyi and Patrick Morris as 2018 college free agents.