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: FB Roosevelt Nix
Stock Value: Up
For the first time all season, at least since the opener, it sounds as though veteran fullback Roosevelt Nix might have a chance to play. While the fullback is not a featured part of their offense, their inability to even make use of it in select situations has limited what the Steelers are able to do on that side of the ball.
The absence of Ben Roethlisberger and the subsequent swing toward running the ball more than they might do so otherwise accentuates Nix’s absence even further. One area in which the Steelers have really struggled this season is in short-yardage scenarios. Putting a fullback on the field won’t automatically make it better, but it would give them another variable to plan with, and to show defenses, that they haven’t had this year.
Obviously, when you’re talking about Roosevelt Nix, though, you’re also talking about a standout special teams player, and the special teams units have felt his absence. It’s more than in just the manner in which he executes his role within the schemes of the plays they run in that phase of the game. He is also an important tone-setter, for both teams. His physicality and bleed across different phases of the game, for example.
And he also has a handful of splash plays in his history. He is great rushing the punter, and has a couple of blocks in his back pocket. He has created a couple of fumbles on returns as well, and of course, he makes his share of tackles.
With the future of Anthony Chickillo up in the air—and with the possibility of his not suiting up until that is determined—Nix’s return can be even more important in the special teams phase of the game. They are hurting for some of their important contributors, and he is among the most important.