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: DT Carlos Davis
Stock Value: Purchased
The sixth of the Steelers six draft selections in 2020, Carlos Davis comes to the team via Nebraska, where he had a solid if unspectacular career as an interior defensive lineman. What the team was attracted to as much as anything, however, was his athletic ability for a man his size.
Davis comes into a pretty tidy situation, with the Steelers having lost their starting nose tackle in free agency, Javon Hargrave signing a big-money deal to move across-state to Philadelphia. They didn’t find any replacements in free agency.
Daniel McCullers remains the only true nose tackle among the veterans on the roster, and he has spent his entire career as a backup—sometimes even as a healthy scratch. He has lost out on the starting job on multiple occasions already, first to Steve McLendon and then to Hargrave.
But the Steelers appear to be open to the possibility of getting nose tackle snaps out of their reserve linemen, Tyson Alualu having gotten a mention. Chris Wormley and Isaiah Buggs could also potentially factor into the discussion before all is said and done.
If Davis comes in and impresses, though, they might not need to. He might not have put up gaudy numbers, but he possesses some interesting traits that can be built upon. He has a pretty stout anchor and has both and knowledge and skill of handfighting for the position to be effective against interior linemen.
Still, it will not be easy for him, especially during this tumultuous offseason, to earn a roster spot as a rookie seventh-round pick, when the team already has six defensive linemen who are roster-worthy. The only thing in his control is showing the coaches that he is capable of playing.
If he should fail to make the 53-man roster, there is always, of course, the practice squad. It wouldn’t be the first time a lineman spent some time there and went on to have a successful career—McLendon comes to mind.