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: TE Dax Raymond
Stock Value: Purchased
Reasoning: The Steelers officially announced that they have signed the first-year tight end yesterday, taking the roster spot of Christian Scotland-Williamson, who was waived with an injury designation, giving them five tight ends as they head into training camp.
Even though the league is reportedly going to reduce the offseason rosters from 90 to 80 players, I don’t think Dax Raymond has to worry. The Steelers are not deep enough at the tight end position to sacrifice him just because he is a new face. Outside of Vance McDonald, Zach Gentry, and the newly-signed Eric Ebron, Kevin Rader is the only other tight end on the roster. McDonald is the only one who’s played more than a couple dozen snaps in Pittsburgh.
Christian Scotland-Williamson is a (former?) rugby player who has spent the past two years with the Steelers as part of the International Pathway Program, which gives players outside of the country a roster exemption with teams to give them an opportunity to learn the game. The exemption applies to the offseason roster and the practice squad.
While CSW made some strides from one year to the next, there were no signs that his breaking out was imminent. Whatever injury he has the team felt it was significant enough to waive him, bringing in Raymond, who has solid size and is a versatile player who can assume a variety of tight end roles , including h-back.
An undrafted free agent in 2019, signed by the Chicago Bears. He spent his rookie year on the practice squad, but they released him shortly after the 2020 NFL Draft. He does have interesting numbers and traits that could make him a candidate to stick around on the practice squad, even with the short turnaround and the limitations of the offseason. An expanded practice squad doesn’t hurt, either. Plus, not much depth, and the fact that he can play h-back.