This season has been as storybook of a year possible for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sitting at 8-5, a win this weekend would go a long way in ensuring the Steelers reach the postseason and who would have thought that would ever be possible with all the obstacles this team has faced. Yet, here the Steelers are, sitting in the #6 playoff spot with a team led by veterans on defense and rookies on offense. While the defense has been carrying the team all season, the young rookies on offense are starting to show up on the field. That is not the only place they will be showing up as they will make a few appearances on this weekend’s stock report as well.
WR Diontae Johnson – Stock Up
Head coach Mike Tomlin let out a few “wooos” as Diontae Johnson contributed big play after big play last Sunday. Tomlin probably was not the only one excited as the rookie receiver left many of us in awe with his open field ability and elusiveness. When it comes to rookie receivers, Johnson currently ranks fourth in receptions and ninth in receiving yards. He is also the only rookie receiver this year to have both a receiving touchdown and return touchdown.
S Terrell Edmunds – Stock Down
Terrell Edmunds is not a bad football player but he is neither a great one either. He floats somewhere in middle as he is a very stout football player who will make all the plays he should make but he just lacks that “it factor” to really be a playmaker. That was evident last Sunday as he was exceptionally strong against the run and had a few key run stops on Kyler Murray but he could not make the play that mattered most when the Steelers needed it. Murray sailed a pass right over Edmunds’ hands on a 28-yard touchdown pass to David Johnson. After being spoiled with turnovers this season, it is a tad disappointing that Edmunds has not been able to get his hands on one.
RB Benny Snell – Stock Up
Another week of Benny Snell football was bestowed upon us and while it may not have been his best game of the season statistically, Snell put in another solid effort with some tough running and trucking. While a certain former Steelers’ running back may have spent his weekend bowling, Snell was also bowling, just not at the bowling alley but on the field as he bowled through defenders. The rookie running back has quietly put together a great first season as his 320 rushing yards ranks seventh among all rookies. While James Conner may be back this weekend, do not expect Snell to go anywhere as he proved he is a consistent piece of this offense over the last month.
TE Vance McDonald – Stock Down
Tight ends have been a nightmare for the Cardinals to defend this season but apparently no one told that to Vance McDonald or Randy Fichtner. McDonald had just one catch for three yards against a team that has given up big games to tight ends all year. To make matters worse, McDonald left the game with a concussion and has been ruled out for this Sunday’s affair.
RB Kerrith Whyte Jr – Stock Up
One of the many minor heroes of this season, it would be hard to talk about the running game’s resurgence without mentioning Kerrith Whyte Jr. Snatched off the Chicago Bears’ practice squad just about a month ago, Whyte has impressed the coaches and the fanbase with his athleticism. A quick and speedy runner, Whyte brings an element to the backfield that the Steelers have been lacking all season. He has also been a pleasant surprise on special teams as he owns the Steelers’ longest kick return of the season. Hats off to the front office for this key pickup.
CB Joe Haden – Stock Up
I know the Pittsburgh Pirates are usually very quiet around this time of year but if they are looking to make a splash, maybe they should think about signing Joe Haden to be their closer. The veteran cornerback has been absolutely clutch over the last five games, recording four interceptions and 11 passes defended. Two of those four interceptions came on the opposing team’s final drive and Haden also tipped the game ending interception against the Los Angeles Rams during week ten, cementing his place as this city’s best closer.