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: CB Joe Haden
Stock Value: Up
Boy, do the Steelers look smart for signing 30-year-old veteran cornerback Joe Haden to a two-year contract extension before the start of the season. The former Cleveland Browns top-10 draft pick has been playing something like that this year, certainly his best since joining Pittsburgh in 2019.
He is also coming off his third-career multiple-interception game, first in Pittsburgh, after robbing rookie first-overall pick Kyler Murray twice. Murray entered the game having thrown only six interception on 427 pass attempts, and the Steelers got him three times.
Including their final play of the game, which Haden nabbed out of the air. That is the second game in a row that the veteran has sealed a Steelers victory with an interception of a former first-overall pick on the final defensive play of the game.
Not a bad streak for a player who has truly come in and fully become a Steeler from the first day forward. While Haden retains love for Cleveland, he certainly seems to be another free agent signing who’s going to talk about his memories in Pittsburgh after he retires the way the likes of Kevin Greene and James Farrior do.
His four interceptions on the season are the most that he has had since 2013, which was the first of two years that he went to the Pro Bowl. He is making a solid case for himself to make the Pro Bowl now this year, especially lately, with three interceptions in the past eight days. The fact that he plays on one of the top defenses with an active voting fanbase will only help.
As of this writing, Haden is now in an extended tie for the third-most interceptions in the NFL with three weeks to go, and one of those he is behind is teammate Minkah Fitzpatrick. No cornerback has more interceptions, and I believe he is one of five AFC cornerbacks with four interceptions. He also has the second-most passes defensed.