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: QB J.T. Barrett
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: If the Steelers are only going to take 80 players into training camp, and they have five quarterbacks, three of whom are still young and in need of a lot of reps, it stands to reason that the fifth arm is almost surely going to be among the ones getting the short straw.
If we’re being brutally honest with ourselves, J.T. Barrett has very poor odds of even stepping foot in the Steelers’ facilities again, unless the roster reductions don’t take place until after teams begin reporting for players to be tested for Covid-19.
The former Ohio State Buckeye was signed to the Steelers’ practice squad late last year after Mason Rudolph was placed on injured reserve heading into the season finale. Left ahead of him on the 53-man roster were just Devlin Hodges, a rookie, and Paxton Lynch, a former first-round pick whom the Steelers only picked up two weeks into the 2019 season.
Rudolph, Hodges, and Lynch all need a lot of work this offseason. In fact, they have been needing work that they haven’t been getting. The Steelers have mentioned a number of times that they’re looking forward to seeing what Lynch has, but they still haven’t gotten to see it yet.
This need to get a lot of reps for not one, not two, but three young quarterbacks is a death sentence for a player in Barrett’s position. Pittsburgh is still committed to Rudolph as the backup, but he needs the on-field work to get better. Hodges is just coming off of his rookie season, and they want to how he can grow during his second year.
Then you have to factor in the uniqueness of Ben Roethlisberger returning from injury, which will ironically translate into him likely getting more work in than he normally would at this time of the year, especially since he hasn’t even played a lot with anybody he’ll be throwing to other than JuJu Smith-Schuster and Vance McDonald.