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: CB Joe Haden
Stock Value: Up
Again, as noted yesterday, what I’m currently focused on is more near-term rising and falling in a player’s stock, rather than assessing the player’s total body of work for the season. One of the reasons for that is that in some cases, we’re still taking in what the collective sample size really means.
During the regular season finale, it would be easy to lose the trees for the forest and simply recall that the Baltimore Ravens dominated the Steelers in a 28-10 blowout. But nine of the Ravens’ points came from the Steelers’ offense, and in actuality, Baltimore’s passing game was really quite poor.
Robert Griffin III only completed 11 of his 21 pass attempts for a whopping 96 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception. That interception came courtesy of Joe Haden—with an assist from Cameron Heyward, and it is arguably fitting that he would end the season that way.
Haden recorded passes defensed earlier in the season that produced deflections that were intercepted by Minkah Fitzpatrick, including a game-sealer, so it’s fair for the bounces to come back his way, capping off the year with one final takeaway.
In fact, Haden would finish the season with five interceptions. He had three combined in his first two season with the Steelers, and just six over the course of the four prior seasons heading into 2019. His five interceptions is the second-most in his career behind the six from his rookie season.
As should be implied by Griffin’s anemic passing numbers, Haden and the rest of the secondary really did a strong job, even considering the circumstances, in coverage. Of course, the Ravens didn’t much need the passing game because of the success that they found on the ground, but that’s not the subject we’re discussing here.