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
With James Conner looking as though he may be down for at least another week due to a shoulder injury that he suffered back in October, it seems as though there is still time yet for more Benny Snell Football, which has had a pretty solid preview of its potential over the course of the past three games.
The rookie running back out of Kentucky has been an important piece of the Steelers’ offense, ironically, only after returning from a knee injury, a predicament that would typically see a rookie’s role in the team take a sharp nosedive toward nothingness.
Conner’s absence and the utter lack of any other viable candidates, however, allowed Snell to take a major role on the field in his first game back, though that largely hinged upon him functioning as a ‘closer’ at the end of games, carrying the football.
Despite the significant blemish of a fumble, which he lost, during Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals, it was another positive performance that is more about individual plays and what those efforts show than a collective body of work. He only had 41 yards on 16 carries, which doesn’t at all translate to a robust average, but much of his work came in short yardage as well.
And more to the point, he still has the opportunity to play right now with Conner not yet all the way back healthy. Even if he does play, he should not be expected to see a large percentage of the snaps, though Kerrith Whyte could potentially take some.
In actuality, Snell hasn’t played a huge amount. He has been below 50 percent of the offensive snaps in every game this season, including the last three. The past two games, he only saw a combined 44 snaps, but he has 33 touches on those snaps. In other words, when he’s in the game, he’s getting the ball about three quarters of the time.