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 Devlin Hodges
Stock Value: Up
Devlin Hodges wasn’t even signed after the draft back in April, but it appears likely that he will be starting at least one game as a rookie in 2019, as the Steelers prepare to face the Los Angeles Chargers in Week Six.
Coming off their fourth defeat in five games, there isn’t a lot for them to lose, quite frankly, but they also don’t really have an alternative but to start Hodges, as Mason Rudolph is unlikely to be cleared from the concussion protocol in time to play on Sunday.
Rudolph was knocked out of Sunday’s game after taking a hit to the head from Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas as he completed a third-down pass that went for a first down. Hodges was able to come in and finish that drive, culminating in a James Conner touchdown, but the Steelers ultimately lost in overtime, 26-23, after a JuJu Smith-Schuster fumble.
Hodges played pretty well, acquitting himself more than ably, especially relative to the circumstances. He has gotten little if any work during practice since being signed to the practice squad in Week Two with the first-team offense, yet he came in and completed seven of nine passes for 68 yards, plus a 21-yard scramble. He did have an interception that was negated by penalty, admittedly.
But the Steelers were clearly comfortable with Hodges on the field, and he didn’t look out of place. Nor did it look as though they were deliberately limiting that they were willing to ask or allow him to do. He was throwing the ball around, and that will presumably be the plan for whatever length of time he might play going forward.
Hodges has some natural limitations, but one thing he can do is throw the football around, and with generally good accuracy. Getting a week’s worth of first-team reps, getting familiar with the starting personnel, should be of great benefit to him, and to the offense, heading out west.