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: OL J.C. Hassenauer
Stock Value: Up
J.C. Hassenauer (pictured working with Maurkice Pouncey) is one of several players that the Steelers signed who participated in the Alliance of American Football, a couple of whom had already been on the team’s 90-man roster a year ago. Former Alabama center J.C. Hassenauer was decidedly not one of them.
After he came out for the draft last year, he was unable to hook up with anybody for too long. He spent some time with the Atlanta Falcons, earning about $50,000 for the entire year for his troubles. He would go on to play for the Birmingham Iron in the AAF, and though he didn’t begin the season as a starter, he would become regarded as one of the league’s top interior linemen by the time it closed.
The Steelers said that a lot of the players that they ended up signing from the defunct league were among those who would have already been on their radar anyway for Reserve/Future contracts had they not already been contracted with the AAF. I don’t think that was the case for Hassenauer.
In spite of that, however, he appears to have looked the part so far, and has been reportedly been spending the bulk of his time in the spring working along the second-team line, alternating with Patrick Morris at center and Derwin Gray at guard, according to 247Sports. Center Maurkice Pouncey also complimented him and praising his intelligence and technique.
It would be about time for the Steelers to develop some talent at center, as who knows how long B.J. Finney will remain either as a backup or with the team. Morris was an undrafted free agent last year who showed some potential and remained on the practice squad all year. Now Hassenauer will push him. Matt Feiler, who may be their starting right tackle, is the only other lineman who has worked at center, and he only picked it up last year.