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: QB Joshua Dobbs
Stock Value: Down
Of all the players who remain on the roster from last season, there is only one who has since then been clearly and unquestionably demoted from where they finished a year ago, that being third-year quarterback Joshua Dobbs. He was the backup last season, and will now serve as the number three, as he was during his rookie season.
Other players may be in-line for reduced playing time, such as Vince Williams and Mike Hilton, but all of that sort of stuff is yet to be determined. Obviously, Artie Burns went from being a starter at the beginning of 2018 to maybe being the top outside backup this year. But Dobbs is going from dressing to not dressing, and that’s significant.
While the former fourth-round pick has always displayed a certainly level of inconsistency with his ball placement over the course of the preseason, one thing he did a lot better during his first two years, and especially last year, is produce. The offense scored well while he was in the game during the 2018 preseason. With him under center this time, they never even got into the end zone, at least officially.
One can argue that Dobbs did make strides from last season. He certainly looked more confident and comfortable running the offense, even if his results were worse. He had more success with the deep ball and with his ability to use his athleticism to extend plays. His short-range accuracy, however, showed not improvement, a critical flaw.
It’s fortunate for him that Devlin Hodges never quite mustered up the fight that many were hoping to see, even while many continue to argue that the undrafted rookie outperformed Dobbs in every aspect, which is simply not true.
There are obviously things that he did better, and nobody had more of his passes dropped, but the Steelers gave him about as much work as Dobbs and Mason Rudolph. They gave him a legitimate chance and still opted for Dobbs. No fourth quarterback under Mike Tomlin was ever afforded the opportunities Hodges received.