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: CB Trajan Bandy
Stock Value: Purchased
The Steelers said that they didn’t think they were going to end up signing a lot of undrafted free agents this year because they did a pretty good job of filling out the 53-man roster beforehand, a project that included signing more than half a dozen participants in the XFL.
They ended up signing 11, if memory serves, and that required that they release three players from the 90-man roster just to fit them. While none of them were names on the tip of even draft experts’ tongues when considering the players who were not drafted, there were some who have drawn interest.
Perhaps the player from the undrafted pool who has garnered the most attention so far is Trajan Bandy, the short cornerback out of Miami who will probably remind people of Mike Hilton. At 5’9” and 186 pounds, he’s not the biggest player at his position, but he has no issues with embracing the physical aspect of the game, and would be a willing special teamer.
At the moment, there appear to be five players at the cornerback position, however, who are pretty much locks. You have Joe Haden and Steven Nelson starting on the outside, with Hilton in the slot, and Cameron Sutton as a guy that they’re still trying to find roles for. Justin Layne is a former third-round pick who is heading into his second season.
Basically, barring injuries, Bandy has to get the Steelers to carry six cornerbacks. Granted, they often do, including last season—they had the same players as above, plus Artie Burns—so it’s not exactly unrealistic, but six cornerbacks usually means four safeties, and they would prefer to have five.
One wonders if the versatility of a player like Sutton could work to Bandy’s advantage. I suggested yesterday that, in a theoretical scenario in which Terrell Edmunds is allowed to play dimebacker, Sutton could step in at safety.
Of course, the best thing that Bandy can do for himself is to run down some punts and make some tackles or force fair catches. The sixth cornerback needs to be a guy who can play special teams.