Now that the 2020 offseason has begun, following a second consecutive season in which they failed to even reach the playoffs, 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: DL Isaiah Buggs
Stock Value: Down
With the trade acquisition of Chris Wormley, it’s hard to feel better about the chances of Isaiah Buggs getting on the field and getting playing time than you did before. The 2019 sixth-round draft pick was in line to have a redshirt season last year until Stephon Tuitt’s injury opened the door for him to get a bit of playing time.
With another year under his belt, he is hoping to carve out a bigger role, but it remains to be seen what avenues will be presented to him, and whether or not he will even make the 53-man roster. After all, he is not so established as to be expected to be locked into a roster spot.
Even with the loss of Javon Hargrave, the Steelers’ line still consists currently of Tuitt, Cameron Heyward, Tyson Alualu, Daniel McCullers, and now Wormley, with Buggs theoretically bringing up the rear.
According to himself, he was told by the coaching and conditioning staffs that they want to keep him playing at a lower weight, which indicates that, at least at the end of last season, they were continuing to view him as a defensive end, rather than as somebody that they might entertain as being able to take some nose tackle snaps.
The addition of Wormley could theoretically change those plans. After all, if he can be an inside-outside capable lineman in the mold of a Steve McLendon, a Chris Hoke, or a Travis Kirschke, then he can give himself the best odds of actually making the team, and of helping the team.
The Steelers are still expected to address the defensive line position at some point during the draft, and the odds heavily favor that selection being an interior lineman rather than an end. Just because you draft one, however, doesn’t mean he makes the roster, as Buggs’ college teammate, Joshua Frazier, found out in 2018.