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 John Battle
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: While the Steelers are not extremely deep at safety, they do have s even true safeties on the roster now, with multiple defensive backs with position flexibility. First-year safety John Battle may prove to be the odd man out if the team decides to cut a safety to reduce its roster to 80 prior to the start of training camp.
John Battle came out of LSU in 2019, going undrafted. He spent time with multiple times over the course of the year, signed by the Jets but playing with the Buccaneers during the preseason. He stayed on the practice squad all season.
But they did not sign him to a futures contract. The Steelers did—after the season was over, of course. That means that he doesn’t know anything that the other safeties who were added in 2020, like Tyree Kinnel, would have also learned over the course of the year.
While safety is not necessarily a particularly deep position on their roster, the fact that they have a number of players capable of playing there who might primarily play cornerback could increase the odds of the Steelers deciding to make a cut from this group. The ability to play multiple spots will be particularly valuable in this year’s training camp setting, for obvious reasons.
The team already has two backup safeties with two years of experience in their system in Jordan Dangerfield and Marcus Allen. Even if neither of them are ideal options for your top backups, they figure to be as relevant as those previously mentioned in this article, while Antoine Brooks comes in green, fresh from college, without a single professional practice under his belt. But he’s certainly not going to be cut.