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: Down
Reasoning: The fewer opportunities an undrafted rookie like Trajan Bandy has to get in front of his coaches and show what he can do on the field, either in practice or in a game, the less likely he is to have much of a chance of making the team.
A small corner out of Miami, Bandy was instantly identified as a potential sleeper among Steelers fans when it was announced that the team signed him to a contract following the 2020 NFL Draft. Bearing some game resemblances to Mike Hilton, a fan favorite, they quickly saw him as someone who could have what it takes to make the team.
And considering the fact that they kept six cornerbacks last season, lost Artie Burns in free agency, and didn’t use free agency or the draft to replace him, it would be pretty reasonable to assume that he would have a chance to step in and claim a roster spot.
But the Steelers almost never keep more than 10 defensive backs. Last year, they only had four safeties. The year before that, they started off with six. Right now, they could be looking at five after drafting Antoine Brooks in the sixth round, with Jordan Dangerfield and Marcus Allen also in the mix among their reserves.
Pittsburgh has a strong top four at the cornerback position with Joe Haden, Steven Nelson, Hilton, and Cameron Sutton, who is already a player with more talent than opportunities to play. They also have Justin Layne, a second-year third-round pick who is their developmental prospect and a special teamer. So they don’t necessarily need Bandy.
Unless he gets the opportunity to show that he can be helpful on special teams, or just plays crazy good, he is looking much more likely to be a practice squad candidate than a player on the 53-man roster. Right now we don’t even know if there will be a preseason, so that will make it pretty hard to run down punts.