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: RB Ralph Webb
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: With preliminary plans in place for teams to cut their training camp rosters down to 80 from 90, Ralph Webb is the likely low man on the totem poll at the running back position, which may have one more player than they need.
As of this writing, the Steelers have seven halfbacks on their 53-man roster, including five who return from last year’s 53-man roster, and their 2020 fourth-round draft pick in Anthony McFarland. The Steelers don’t always keep five halfbacks between their 53-man roster and their practice squad, but they had seven at the end of last season.
And heading into the 2020 NFL Draft, with Ralph Webb being one of them. Darrin Hall was the other, but he was waived after the Steelers drafted McFarland. He now sits behind a long line at the position, with James Conner, Benny Snell, Jaylen Samuels, Trey Edmunds, and Kerrith Whyte ahead of him, and the rookie a virtual roster lock.
If teams are going to be asked to trim their rosters by 10 players, then Webb figures to have a very good chance of being one of those 10 players, which is why I’m arguing that his stock is down. A 5’10”, 200-pounder out of Vanderbilt, he has some interesting qualities, but this is already a stacked room in which at least one player with NFL experience is not going to make the team.
And given the fact that this is going to be by necessity a light training camp, with no preseason, and limited work in pads, there is not going to be a need for a lot of running backs just to get the work in. What they already have on-hand is more than enough, and young backs like Snell and McFarland and Whyte are going to need to take on that work themselves. There wouldn’t even be room for Webb to get many snaps, most likely.