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: DE Josiah Coatney
Stock Value: Sold
Reasoning: The Steelers trimmed their roster to 80 players on Sunday, which included the release of eight players. Josiah Coatney was among them, one of 10 college free agents signed after the 2020 NFL Draft, and one of five released over the weekend.
A rookie college free agent defensive lineman out of Ole Miss, Coatney was brought in after the draft to fortify what was honestly perhaps the deepest position on the entire 90-man roster. In fact, not one but two defensive ends were waived on Sunday, with first-year Dewayne Hendrix joining him as well.
But the team still has Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt as their starting pair, supplemented by Tyson Alualu if necessary, even while he moves to nose tackle. This offseason, they brought in Chris Wormley to potentially take over the number three role, while the group is supplemented by Isaiah Buggs, and 2019 practice squader Henry Mondeaux. Also present are Calvin Taylor, a fellow rookie undrafted free agent, and Cavon Walker, who also played in the XFL.
With that amount of strength at the position, it’s not surprising that the Steelers chose to trim down this area of the roster, nor is it surprising that one of their two rookie undrafted free agents at the position were chosen to be at the short end of the stick.
I don’t know what the coaches might have seen or heard over the course of the offseason to determine that they preferred to stick with Calvin Taylor over Coatney, but they had some reason for choosing one over the other. Perhaps, for all we know, Coatney was having second thoughts about playing during a pandemic.
In three seasons at Ole Miss, Coatney produced 174 tackles with 15.5 for a loss, with 6.5 sacks, but as a defensive tackle, that wasn’t his primary responsibility. The Steelers gave him among the largest signing bonuses for any college free agent they’ve signed ($15,000), and while that’s not a significant sum, it will be accounted for in the salary cap over the next two years.