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: TE Eric Ebron
Stock Value: Up
Eric Ebron has only been a member of the Steelers for less than a month, and seemingly nothing has happened between now and then. So what is he doing already in this column, after having already been featured after his stock was first purchased?
Well, when you’re dealing with a new player who is coming off of an injury, that player’s recovery process from injury is probably worth monitoring. Plus, the Steelers and their fans have an innate weariness of free agent tight ends with ankle injuries. Remember Ladarius Green? He did eventually get on the field and that wasn’t what ended his career, but it started on the PUP list because of it.
Now it’s Eric Ebron, the latest tight end acquisition, who is coming to the team having had surgery on both of his ankles after essentially deciding to shut himself down with five games left to play in the 2019 season. The Colts didn’t seem thrilled with that—though it didn’t turn into a Kelechi Osemele situation with the New York Jets, where he had to go behind the team’s back to have surgery, and they cut him as a result—but however we get here, this is where we are.
Recently, Ebron posted a short video of himself working at a rehab center performing a variation of a box jump and saying that his ankle was feeling great. The fact that he is already this far along in April should be good news about his presumed availability for the start of the 2020 season, whenever that might be…assuming there is a 2020 season.
The former first-round pick comes to the Steelers with the potential of being a potent receiving threat in an offense that no longer revolves around Antonio Brown and his 200-plus annual targets, opening up the possibility of two-tight end sets as a regular feature in the passing game.
That was the plan the team obviously had in mind when they signed him, and Ben Roethlisberger was already a fan before they went out and signed him. The feeling is mutual between those two, so we’re off to a good start on that front.