It’s that time of year again. Free agency is creeping up in just a couple of weeks, so before we get there, we’ll get going over the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster, position by position, making an assessment of what kind of shape they’re in, trying to figure out how they might, or should, attack the roster on that basis.
We’ll be suspending the Stock Watch series during this time, at the end of which we should have more meaningful topics to discuss once we resume, since a lot more news about free agency and its ripple effects should be current by then. In the meantime, we go back over the current makeup of the team’s roster, and assess where they are strong, or weak.
Total Positional Figure: 5
Ben Roethlisberger: They say no news is good news, but actual news can be good, too. And we got some news about Ben Roethlisberger a couple of weeks ago that was quite good, indicating that he is on track to make a full recovery from his elbow injury that virtually wiped out his 2019 season.
Today is, in fact, his birthday, as he heads into season 17. Knowing that the end of his career could be just around the corner, and with a drive to lock in another championship, I have no doubt he will be as driven as ever to win this season, and perhaps to prove people wrong, as well.
Mason Rudolph: A 2018 third-round pick, Rudolph got the very rare opportunity last season to start half of the season, going 5-3 in that time. However, the team’s record while he was under center can probably be best attributed to the defense. Still, he showed some growth, and the team has said it’s “comfortable” going into the season with him as their backup.
Devlin Hodges: Hodges came out of nowhere last year, and by the end of the season, many are hoping to see him go back where he came from. The rookie undrafted free agent rapidly grew a fan base, even getting people to dress in mallard masks, but Duck Season fizzled out the same time the wins did.
Paxton Lynch: A former first-round pick of the Denver Broncos, the Steelers signed him to the practice squad after Roethlisberger was placed on injured reserve. He spent the season as the team’s number three quarterback, only dressing for a couple of games due to injury.
J.T. Barrett: Barrett had a couple of stints on the team’s practice squad, brought on in large part to serve as a mobile quarterback archetype for facing the Ravens. He may be brought to camp, especially if Roethlisberger is held back, but it’s hard to have much in the way of expectations for him.
Likely, the Steelers will stand pat on this position, and that is precisely what they have claimed that they will do. They are optimistic about Roethlisberger’s recovery, even going so far as to suggest that he could be better when he returns, and they have more or less said outright that they will not be looking to sign a veteran backup. The 2020 roster will be made up from this group of five players, barring injury.