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: WR Anthony Johnson
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: As teams begin to trim their rosters down from 90 players to 80, one has to imagine that first-year wide receiver Anthony Johnson will be among those who are vulnerable to being seen as part of the low end of the totem pole, so to speak.
Several teams yesterday trimmed their rosters to get down to or near to 80 players, including the Titans and the Cardinals, and others will inevitably follow in the coming days. The Steelers tend to be among the slower teams in the league in making such moves, but the rules stipulate that it is inevitable.
When these roster cuts do happen, it’s pretty much inevitable that at least one of the 10 wide receivers currently on the roster will be included within that group. It can be argued that the player at the position at the greatest risk is Anthony Johnson—in part because he is probably the wide receiver on the roster that you are least likely to know was there, or even who he is.
Originally a 2019 college free agent out of Buffalo, he was signed by the Buccaneers, but ended up spending the year on the Chargers’ practice squad. The team appears not to have offered him a futures contract, however, and the Steelers signed him to one on January 8.
A productive college wide receiver, he caught over 130 passes over his final two season for nearly 2400 yards and with 25 touchdowns. He is also 6’2” and listed at 220 pounds. As a college transfer who also redshirted, however, he is also already 25 years old.
During the preseason with Tampa Bay last year, Johnson caught five of 10 targets for 57 yards, credited with one forced missed tackle and no dropped passes. But if the Steelers are going to bring a tall flier into training camp with almost no experience, it’s probably going to be Penn State alum Saeed Blacknail.