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
Another week, another positive stock evaluation for the rookie running back, Benny Snell. While his efficiency was down this game—in fact, it was just a tick below four yards per carry—he once again showed the ability to run well, to run often, and to possess situational awareness.
Whether it was converting at the goal line, in short-yardage, or in the shadow of his own end zone, Snell performed in all three of those scenarios, which are integral moments for the ground game, and frankly, areas in which the Steelers have not been very good this year.
Coming off a knee injury that caused him to miss three weeks, Benny Snell Football has been a welcome inflexion into the team’s offensive vernacular, and a boost for their success over the course of the past two weeks. He has rushed for over 160 yards on 37 carries, and he was able to get into the end zone for the first time in his career, as well.
After the game, head coach Mike Tomlin praised him, saying that he gets better as the game goes along and that he has the mentality of a featured runner. It should be noted that his 11-yard carry from his own half-yard line occurred in a late-game scenario during a critical time in which they were trying to protect a one-possession lead.
The Steelers have turned to him to close out the last two games. While it wasn’t as successful on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns—they did eventually punt after attempting to pass on third down—he has already shown some competence in this area.
We are beginning to enter the territory in which it must be discussed how big of a role Snell is going to have in the offense even after James Conner returns. Conner is a Pro Bowler and has previously been their bell cow running back, but if Snell has shown that he can take a lot of the load off his shoulder, they may just be willing to let him.