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: 7
Minkah Fitzpatrick: A first-team All-Pro who deserved the accolade despite coming over two games into the season. His second year with the team may not be as splashy (then again, it may be as well), but there’s only reason to believe he’ll continue to get better.
Terrell Edmunds: Two years into his career, Edmunds hasn’t shown significant growth, but perhaps with some stability in the secondary, and on the coaching staff at his position, 2020 will be the year he takes that next step. He did smooth over some rough patches from his rookie season, but there is more sanding to be done.
Sean Davis: A 2016 second-round pick, Davis started for most of his tenure in Pittsburgh, but he is fated to leave in free agency this year. An injury robbed him of nearly all of his final year, which will hurt his market, and which prompted the Fitzpatrick trade to replace him.
Jordan Dangerfield: How amazing is it that Cameron Heyward and Vince Williams are the only defenders who have been in Pittsburgh longer than Dangerfield? He’s an RFA who won’t be tagged but should be easily re-signed for the minimum as depth and special teams.
Marcus Allen: Now going into his third year, it’s time for Allen to show that he deserves to be on the 53-man roster for good. The team was cautiously optimistic about him heading into the offseason a year ago, but that didn’t pan out.
John Battle: For some reason, not listed on the team’s transaction list on their site. He was signed to a futures contract January 9. He is the only player on the roster who had not previously been with the team.
Tray Matthews: Matthews was signed to the practice squad late last season days after Allen was promoted to the 53 following Kameron Kelly’s arrest and release. Signed to a futures deal at the endo f the season.
I’m not entirely sure how they ended up with seven safeties, but here we are. Of course, Sean Davis is expected to leave in free agency—whenever that will be—and only three of the others spent most of the year on the 53. Marcus Allen was called up late from the practice squad.
Neither Dangerfield nor Allen should be regarded as ‘quality depth’, at least based on how the team appears to view them defensively, and it’s been widely suggested that this is a prime area to be upgraded. This would not come until later in the draft, though, or perhaps with a low-level free agent similar to Nat Berhe.