Now that training camp is underway, and the roster for 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 move forward.
Player: OLB Olasunkanmi Adeniyi
Stock Value: Up
Two of the best performers on the field on either side of the ball for the Steelers on Friday night in their preseason opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were a pair of young edge rushers from Toledo out of the MAC Conference. While they performed against a different level of competition, both flashed within their respective groups.
I have already previously highlighted the performance of Tuzar Skipper, the rookie who was an invitee, and we also got a film room up on him, but his teammate, Olasunkanmi Adeniyi, had a similar impact, even without recording a sack, against the Buccaneers’ first- and second-team defenses early in the game.
Adeniyi was also a college free agent, but came out a year earlier, in 2018. Signed after the draft, he had a consistently strong offseason, but really stepped up in the preseason, recording three sacks and forcing two fumbles over the course of the four exhibition games to earn a roster spot, but he would spend most of the year on the Reserve/Injured List.
He came in this offseason looking to pick up where he left off, and he has, both in practice and now exiting the team’s first preseason game, where he once again played well, generating a handful of pressures as a pass rusher and doing well to set the edge against the run, even if his teammates didn’t always take full advantage of that.
One element that will work in his favor this year is the fact that he got playing time, and performed, on both sides of the field, and the Steelers love an ambidextrous edge defender. He also made his presence felt on special teams, which is critical as well.
While he did not record a sack, he recorded multiple pressures. One elicited an errant pass down the field. Another resulted in a scramble for a first down when the contain behind him was not there. He also paired with Devin Bush to record a fourth-and-one stop to force a turnover on downs.