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 Cavon Walker
Stock Value: Purchased
Though this is not the first that we are hearing of it, the Steelers officially announced yesterday that they have agreed to terms on a contract with Cavon Walker, originally signed as a college free agent out of Maryland in 2018 by the Chicago Bears.
Walker failed to make the roster or the practice squad that year. It was the same story the following year with the Kansas City Chiefs, but earlier this year, he signed with the New York Guardians of the XFL, where he finished the league’s unfinished season with the most sacks.
That would put him back on the radar of NFL teams, and ultimately on the Steelers’. Curiously, Pittsburgh actually lists him as a defensive tackle, but that doesn’t seem likely. At 6’2” and 278 pounds, he may be best suited to line up at outside linebacker, so we’ll see where he ultimately lines up once the team gets on the field—whenever that is.
Assuming that he does ultimately line up as an edge defender, in which case he likely would be asked to drop a little weight, it’s a good fit, given that the team recently released its only experienced backup in Anthony Chickillo as a salary cap casualty.
The only other linebackers on the roster right now on the outside are Ola Adeniyi and Tuzar Skipper, neither of whom have much NFL experience. Of course, neither does Walker, but having another body in the mix is not going to hurt.
T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree are the starters, of course, but they are not going to play 100 percent of the snaps, and that even assumes perfect health throughout the year. At some point this offseason, they are going to have to find a third player that they are comfortable with and can trust putting on the field to pick up some snaps. Now Walker is the latest candidate.