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: DL Chris Wormley
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: Head coach Mike Tomlin confirmed that Chris Wormley is currently sidelined with a minor injury as he enters his first season with the Steelers. He did not specify the nature of the injury, even if it did not sound serious.
Chris Wormley is a fourth-year veteran who has played his whole career in what is generally a 3-4 defense. Only, his first three years were in the Baltimore Ravens’ 3-4 defense, not the Steelers, and there are differences that come along with it, something that he talked about last week while acknowledging that there have been some difficulties moving to a new defense.
His comments were made on Thursday, and then he didn’t appear to be practicing on Friday. And then he wasn’t practicing yesterday. Perhaps he is begin held out of practice out of an abundance of caution, which would be better than the alternative, but the end result is the fact that he is not getting important reps.
Wormley was not acquired with an eye toward moving him into the starting lineup, of course. The Steelers have Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt for that. His role will likely be to serve as the top reserve, particularly with Tyson Alualu seemingly moving inside to nose tackle.
But the number three defensive end does play a lot of snaps. Alualu typically logs around 400 snaps, and that’s in the ballpark of what Wormley had been used to playing over the course of the past two years. In other words, his status is not an insignificant one.
Nor is the fact that he has hardly practiced since being acquired by the Steelers in March. When somebody acknowledges that they have some hurdles they are facing in adjusting to their new team, and that they need to get those live reps, and then they’re not getting said live reps, that’s notable, especially in this offseason in which there is no preseason, and every practice’s significance is magnified.