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: DL Carlos Davis
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: Perhaps the only rookie on the outside of the roster bubble, a shortened preseason will really negatively affect Carlos Davis’ chances of making the 53-man roster, which arguably were not great even when he was drafted.
The Steelers lost Javon Hargrave in free agency. They didn’t sign another player who would be brought in to play nose tackle. They waited until the seventh round to draft any lineman at all. Davis was that guy, and he was considered somebody who is more athletic than his production in college shows.
In other words, someone who needs work, and now he’s going to get a lot less work than anybody expected back in April when he was drafted. There was no in-person Spring workout, not even rookie minicamp. Now, there will be a limited preseason, if they even manage that, and training camp will be limited in ways not yet known as well.
Needless to say, these are not the conditions that favor a player in his position to make the team. Especially with Mike Tomlin already making it clear that they view Tyson Alualu as somebody who is going to play inside. That means Chris Wormley and Isaiah Buggs are end reserves, and then there’s still Daniel McCullers in the middle.
Now, this is not to say that Davis can’t make the team. Of course there is always a chance. But the odds are more against him than could have been foreseen months ago. How is a rookie seventh-round defensive tackle supposed to earn a spot on the team with, at most, two preseason games, and perhaps a limited-contact training camp?
He doesn’t have to make the roster to stick around, though. It would be very surprising if he were not retained on the practice squad, even if it’s not unprecedented. Remember, they didn’t keep Joshua Frazier in 2018, and he had the same defensive line coach that he had in college.