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 T.J. Watt
Stock Value: Up
While most will presumably prefer to take this time to wallow in their own misery and be dejected about yesterday’s loss, at least for the time being, I want to restart my stock watch series by highlighting third-year T.J. Watt, who continues to develop into an elite talent for the Steelers defense.
The former first-round pick put together another strong game yesterday against the Baltimore Ravens, even if he did get stiff-armed by Lamar Jackson that one time. But he finished the game with five tackles, a few of which went for a loss or no gain, as well as a sack, as he starts to heat up. He had a sack and a half the week before against the Cincinnati Bengals.
On the season, Watt now has 17 tackles and three and a half sacks in five games, in addition to a forced fumble, an interception, and two passes defensed. Against the Ravens, Watt registered two tackles against Mark Ingram that went for a loss, as well as a stop for zero yards. Including the sack, he recorded three stops for lost yardage.
And while he is not stockpiling the sacks at perhaps the clip that you would like to see (roughly one per game, I suppose, if not more, ideally), he is getting consistent pressure and causing issues for opposing quarterbacks, forcing them to scramble or alter their throwing pattern in some form or fashion.
Of course, it hasn’t been enough to consistently translate into wins, as the Steelers are just 1-4 on the season, even if three of their losses have come by a combined nine points. Watt can make his allotment of plays, but the defense as a whole only needs to give up a few to make the difference in the game.