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: G/C J.C. Hassenauer
Stock Value: Up
A lot of people may not know his name or remember that he was on the team last season, but former AAF interior offensive lineman J.C. Hassenauer is, in fact, in the building, and he may have a better chance of making the 53-man roster than you might think.
Chances are excellent that the Steelers will be losing at least one interior player from last season’s roster, whether that is Ramon Foster or B.J. Finney, if not both. The latter is an unrestricted free agent who will be looking for a starting opportunity. The Steelers could give that to him if they release the aging veteran in Foster.
Either way, he opens up a roster spot along the offensive line, where in fact, there are actually two. Remember, the Steelers, who tend to prefer to carrying nine offensive linemen as long as they have nine worth carrying and injuries don’t take one away, ended up with eight on the 53-man roster by the end of last season after they gambled with Fred Johnson, who was claimed off waivers.
They later promoted Patrick Morris from the practice squad to serve as the backup interior offensive linemen during Maurkice Pouncey’s suspension, with Finney of course starting. They waived him after Pouncey returned; he, too, was claimed off waivers.
With Morris gone, the Steelers brought back Hassenauer, who was originally signed after the AAF folded back in the Spring. He spent the entire offseason with the team, but was waived during the roster cuts. They signed him to the practice squad after Morris was originally promoted.
He would actually finish the season on the 53-man roster, promoted after Mason Rudolph was played on injured reserve with his own injury, so technically he was the second AAF player to make the team’s 53-man roster, and the only one there by the end of the season, after Kameron Kelly got himself arrested.
As of right now, the Steelers are looking as though they will only have three interior linemen with starting experience on the 53-man roster in 2020, with Pouncey and David DeCastro, plus one of Foster and Finney. Matt Feiler is of course an emergency option. Hassenauer would be one interior reserve, but they would like to have two, which will likely come from the draft.