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
I would be writing this today anyway, as I wrote about Mason Rudolph yesterday, but in light of last night’s report by Adam Schefter that the expectation is Devlin Hodges will start next week, it seems all the more appropriate.
For what it’s worth, while Schefter is pretty routinely credible, I’m not sure what I make of this. I may well be proven wrong in a few hours, but I wouldn’t think head coach Mike Tomlin will announce a starter for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns today, since it provides them with no advantage in doing so.
Nevertheless, Hodges’ performance in Sunday’s game puts him in the conversation, though that never would have come about in the first place without Rudolph’s struggles. He has thrown five interceptions in his last six quarters of action, after all.
But Rudolph’s misfortune was Hodges’ opportunity, and his coming into the game did help spark an offensive turnaround. Rudolph helped the offense get into the red zone twice, but they failed to crack the end zone, with the quarterback even throwing an interception.
Hodges was far from great, only completing four of 10 passes for 39 yards outside of his 79-yard catch-and-run touchdown to James Washington, a good chunk of which came after the receiver stiff-armed B.W. Webb, but nevertheless, things ran more smoothly, or at least successfully, with him in the game.
And he hasn’t spent much time actually working with the starters. He runs the scout team during the week. If he is going to start, he will be getting the first-team reps, which should only help him. He is a rookie, so he is growing in his understanding of both the game and the offense, and not to mention how the game is played at this level.
Should he get the opportunity to make his second career start on Sunday against the Browns, how much better will he look in comparison to his last start, back in Week Six?