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: OLB Tuzar Skipper
Stock Value: Even
Like Damian Prince, the player that we talked about yesterday, Tuzar Skipper (#51) was a rookie who went undrafted and then was invited by the Steelers to participate in their rookie minicamp. Also like Prince, he was a player who already had a connection to somebody that they drafted.
Prince was teammates with seventh-round pick Derwin Gray, while Skipper was teammates with third-round wide receiver Diontae Johnson. Even more relevant, though, is the fact that he was also teammates with Olasunkanmi Adeniyi, who went undrafted a year earlier, and who plays the same position.
And for one more similarity, Skipper, like Prince, was signed to a contract on the 90-man roster, displacing a player who had been on the Steelers’ practice squad the year before. in Prince’s case, it was fellow lineman R.J. Prince. In Skipper’s case, it was fellow outside linebacker Keion Adams.
The similarities probably won’t end there, though. In my opinion, both players are going to have a very difficult time, because of the depth at their respective positions in front of them, making any kind of headway, not just for the 53-man roster, but even for the practice squad.
An edge rusher has an easier time of sticking out in training camp and the preseason—just rack up some sacks, as Adeniyi did, which thereby pretty much forced the Steelers’ hand in carrying him on the roster—but the team already figures to be set with at least four outside linebackers, with sixth-round pick Sutton Smith favored to be a fifth, either on the 53-man roster or on the practice squad. He will also have to contend with JT Jones, who has some success with the Alliance of American Football before signing with Pittsburgh earlier this offseason.