Now that the 2020 training camp 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: ILB Leo Lewis
Stock Value: Sold
Reasoning: Earlier in the week, the Steelers waived rookie inside linebacker Leo Lewis along with wide receiver Anthony Johnson (injured) in order to sign back outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott and a long snapper. The Steelers now have seven outside linebackers and four inside linebackers.
This is an interesting one, and one I admit that I struggle with a bit. With the release of Leo Lewis, the Steelers are down to just four inside linebackers on the roster, including two second-year players in Ulysees Gilbert III and Robert Spillane who have neither pedigree nor playing experience.
Since training camp opened, they have already waived two inside linebackers, both of them rookie college free agents, with Lewis being the most recent just days ago. They had previously also released John Houston.
Considering the fact that the Steelers often keep five inside linebackers on the 53-man roster, their voluntary lack of depth is rather surprising. At a bare minimum, they always keep at least five between the roster and the practice squad.
In order to accommodate for the short lines in practice, the team has had third-year safety Marcus Allen working with the linebackers in recent days, though it hasn’t necessarily gone well. Back on Thursday, for example, he was repeatedly beaten over and over again by Benny Snell in one drill.
With that being said, we must acknowledge that it is already just about the end of August, and the regular season is just around the corner. We are not even that far removed from when teams will be trimming down their rosters to 53 players.
The fact that the team did not have to deal with playing through preseason games also likely meant that they didn’t feel nearly as much need to be mindful of their depth, simply in order to be able to field teams. That is especially the case in the final preseason game, when the players who play the most very rarely ever make the team, or even the practice squad.