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: RB Benny Snell
Stock Value: Up
After five weeks of not doing much, Benny Snell got quite a workload for himself during the Steelers’ last game on Sunday night against the Los Angeles Chargers. He came into the game with six total touches, and he quadrupled that by the time the game was over.
In all, he carried the ball 17 times for 75 yards, and added a reception for another 14 yards, giving him 89 yards from scrimmage on 18 touches. On the season, he now has over 100 rushing yards on 23 carries.
His 17 rushes were one more than James Conner had against the Chargers, and while a good helping of that came late in the game, after Conner had already left with some minor injury, Snell was still getting worked into the game will in advance of that point.
The opportunity to get into the game has been afforded to him courtesy of the misfortunes of Jaylen Samuels, the second-year running back who emerged as their number two as a rookie in the second half of the 2018 season. He suffered a knee injury the week before and had a clean-up procedure that is expected to sideline him for a month.
Based on his performance against the Chargers, Snell should figure to continue getting some meaningful work over the next game or two before Samuels gets back, during which the coaching staff will be able to get a better look at him, and a feel for what he is capable of delivering if called upon.
He has, for the most part, been focused on just carrying the ball, so I would like to see him in more passing downs, including when asked to pass protect. He actually did show in the preseason that he can have reasonably soft hands, so that’s encouraging.
Snell didn’t really get off to the best start overall, though, in the preseason or in his limited touches at the start of the year. Hopefully the Chargers game is a true indication of what he is capable of as he grows more comfortable in the offense and against this level of competition.