Now that the 2019 season is over, with a team other than ours having been crowned champion and there being much work to do to return to that status, 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 season, and with notice to anything that happens going forward.
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: ILB Ulysees Gilbert III
Stock Value: Up
This might seem like an odd evaluation for a late-round rookie who spent most of the season on injured reserve, but I believe it to be true for sixth-round pick Ulysees Gilbert III, coming out of Akron. During the time that he did spend on the 53-man roster, he became a core player on special teams, and as we’ve seen from Tyler Matakevich, that’s a good way to stick on the roster.
Not only does Gilbert have the potential to carve out a long-term role for himself as a special teams player, he also has the athleticism at the inside linebacker position to potentially be in line for an audition to have a role on defense as a coverage player, which is why I put him above the typical player in his position.
Other than what he himself managed to achieve for himself, there is the likelihood that the Steelers will be releasing Mark Barron adding to the conversation. With Mark Barron gone, the only players who need to be considered 100 percent stone cold locks in 2020 are Devin Bush and Vince Williams. Even Matakevich, for now, is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent, and they’ve resigned themselves to the reality that he can’t play on defense.
Complicating the conversation is Robert Spillane, but he may hurt Matakevich as much as he hurts Gilbert. While Matakevich has been among the league leaders in special teams tackles since he entered the league four years ago, Spillane appears to be a very similar player, and he racked up the tackles during his time on the 53-man roster as well.
Gilbert offers special teams ability plus the upside of potentially being a niche player, if not more, defensively. When we’re talking about a player this far down the roster, having relatively solid job security is definitely worth considering his stock being up.
Of course, this is for now. We don’t know what the 90-man roster is going to look by the time training camp rolls around. Perhaps they draft somebody or something like that.