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: QB Devlin Hodges
Stock Value: Even
Excluding last season, in which Mason Rudolph and Joshua Dobbs were seemingly competing to see who wouldn’t be deemed the number four quarterback, it’s rare that the Steelers have more than three arms who are ever in serious consideration to make the team.
That doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been the occasional excitement—justified or not—in that fourth arm. Dustin Vaughan even got his attention in 2016. There was John Parker Wilson in 2013, and for some reason some people liked Tajh Boyd in 2015. One of my favorites was Jerrod Johnson in 2012.
And now there’s Devlin Hodges, the 6’1” undrafted Samford product who set an FCS record with 14,584 career passing yards over four seasons. That record was previously owned by Steve McNair. He also threw 111 touchdowns in his college career and completed over 69 percent of his passes.
None of that was enough to get him drafted, but that’s going to be hard to do as a short quarterback from a small school no matter what kind of numbers you put up. Regardless of that, you’re not going to have much luck finding somebody who is more confident in himself and what he is capable of doing and showing others.
The rookie did get a bit of positive reporting from OTAs and minicamp, though most of the focus lay on his mindset, which is actually more important for the quarterback position than for most others, admittedly. And if he has the intelligence and ability, there are enough quarterbacks in the NFL now who have shown you don’t have to be significantly tall to be successful.
The thing is, Hodges is on a depth chart that isn’t likely to budge. Ben Roethlisberger is obviously not going anywhere, and the team liked both Dobbs and Rudolph, with the hope that Rudolph wins the backup job.
Should that indeed happen, it would be the best opportunity for Hodges. If he plays well enough (and Rudolph does as well), there is a longshot that they could consider trading Dobbs and keeping the former as their number three. But let’s just say that this is on the unlikely end of the spectrum. Chances are he’ll be waived shortly before the regular season begins, which is why I think the cap on his stock in terms of longitudinal projections is ‘even’.