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: S Tyree Kinnel
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: Addition of a sixth-round draft pick at his position after he was signed.
While the Steelers are very content with the top of their depth chart at the safety position with Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds (despite what many might think of the latter), I would imagine that they realize the depth behind them is somewhat thing…not that that has been an uncommon phenomenon. In 2013, their only backups were a second-year Robert Golden and a rookie Shamarko Thomas at the start of the year, if memory serves.
Last year, they entered the season with first-year Kameron Kelly as the top backup, who under similar circumstances to Tyree Kinnel came to the team from a Spring league. In Kelly’s case, it was the AAF, where he recorded four interceptions. Kinnel comes from the XFL this year.
The difference in their circumstances is that the Steelers didn’t address the safety position in the draft after they signed Kelly. This year, they used a sixth-round pick on Antoine Brooks, who seems at worst likely to land a roster spot for special teams.
That makes the road tougher to hoe for Kinnel, who also has Jordan Dangerfield and Marcus Allen as established presences to contend with. They may not be the most daunting opponents, but they’re not learning the defense through a virtual offseason, either. They already know it.
This is not to say that a player like Kinnel can’t make the team the way Kelly did last year, but it will be a lot harder this year. Right now, we don’t even know how many preseason games teams will play this August. It could be as few as one or two. And that is obviously a major impediment for anybody looking outside the bubble.