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: QB Mason Rudolph
Stock Value: Up
All of the attention this offseason has been on Ben Roethlisberger and his recovery from injury, and that is neither surprising nor unfair. But he wasn’t the only quarterback who ended up on injured reserve last season and who has been in the recovery process this offseason. Second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph suffered a season-ending injury, his second significant injury of the year, in Week 16, and ended up being more serious than first believed. He would later have surgery to repair the injury to his shoulder, and spent three days in the hospital recovering.
But, like Roethlisberger, he was recently seen working out, throwing the ball around. The Steelers have expressed confidence in Rudolph this offseason, anticipating him remaining the backup quarterback again this year—not that they have the salary cap space to make other arrangements—so it’s pretty significant to monitor his health.
After all, the team’s starter is coming off of elbow surgery, which is nothing to sneeze at. He’s still a way off from being 100 percent. He’s just throwing the ball around right now, even if there is optimism about his long-term recovery and readiness for the 2020 season.
Even in the best of circumstances, it’s not out of the ordinary for Roethlisberger to miss a game or two during the year due to injury, though that has been less true in recent years, outside of the obvious exception of the 2019 season.
That Rudolph is recovering right now isn’t really much of a big deal, considering the unlikelihood that there will be any on-field practice any time soon. He has plenty of time to make sure he is right before any sort of meaningful football activity is set to resume.