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 Mason Rudolph
Stock Value: Down
Mason Rudolph had a chance to re-establish himself as the starter for the remainder of the season, and to head into 2020 as the clear backup to Ben Roethlisberger and emergency starter if necessary. He even looked as though he were on his way to doing just that.
We know what happened next, of course. He got injured. Crunched, really. While it probably wasn’t the only play that affected the injury, the first snap after Maurkice Pouncey was injured perhaps cost Rudolph the rest of the season as well. He got tangled with B.J. Finney at center, tripped, and had a couple of defenders land on top of him and his left shoulder as he winced in extreme pain.
He ultimately had to be pulled from the game, resulting in the unusual sight of the player who had been benched returning to the field as a result of the injury. Devlin Hodges didn’t manage to do much with the second chance, but they have little alternative in the season finale but to allow him to start.
Hodges, now 3-2 as a starter after dropping the past two games while putting up just 10 points in total (Rudolph accounted for the other 10), is the last man standing, unless he struggles again and Paxton Lynch has to be called upon to play.
While not official, it’s already been reported that Rudolph’s injury will keep him out of this game, and could potentially even keep him sidelined until after the postseason is over. He ultimately started eight games, and it’s fair to say he had quite mixed results.
But he made some of his best throws, and best reads, of the season during his cameo appearance in the middle of the game against the New York Jets on Sunday. After sitting on the bench and not playing for several weeks, he looked like somebody who didn’t want to be pulled from the lineup ever again.
Unfortunately, his body wouldn’t allow it, and now instead he begins his offseason process rehabbing from a shoulder injury.