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
An easy choice for this week, as Devlin Hodges may have played his most consistent and overall best game of the season on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. While they may not have the most vaunted defense imaginable, the rookie quarterback made several ‘varsity’ level throws throughout the evening, including his two-yard touchdown pass to the left front corner of the end zone to Diontae Johnson.
He is still making some rookie mistakes, particularly with regard to understanding when and when not to leave the pocket, but they are minor in the grand scheme of what he is doing on the field. He also had a costly incompletion beyond the two-minute warning as the Steelers were trying to close out the game that gave the Cardinals a free 40ish seconds.
But those minor things can be worked on. His general instincts and accuracy are much harder to develop, and he has shown very solid accuracy, really since rookie minicamp, at least based on the fact that he was signed as an invitee.
His accuracy and poise have been his calling card all along, though, so that should not be surprising. It has been especially evident in his ability to connect on several passes down the field, 15-plus, including the very important completion to Johnson on 13 and 3 that brought the game down to the two-minute warning in the first place.
Each week, he does a little more, and shows something new that you have too like about his game and his potential for development. I’m not ready to trade Ben Roethlisberger at this point, or even Mason Rudolph at this matter, but it can’t be denied that Hodges is doing everything that could possibly have been expected of him and more.
There’s a reason he’s starting, and it’s not only because of the injuries and issues that befell the quarterbacks in front of him. No matter how he got here, though, he is the starter now, for at least another three games, and at least up to this point, he has been making the most of it, without a doubt.