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: RB Benny Snell
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: The one thing that we were looking to see from Benny Snell this offseason was what his level of conditioning is. Based on a brief visual of his reporting to training camp on Tuesday, it appears that he is in great shape.
Running back is an interesting position. On the one hand, it is one of the easiest to pick up and be able to contribute right away as a young player. On the other hand, it’s also the most physically demanding and makes you quickly learn that whatever conditioning level you had in college is not sufficient in the NFL.
That is why running backs like Le’Veon Bell and James Conner have shown a substantial body transformation from year one to year two, and that second-year preparation has also shown in their results displayed on the field. Both of them happened to go to the Pro Bowl in their second seasons.
Now, I’m not saying that Benny Snell is going to go to the Pro Bowl in 2020—likely, he’s not going to get anywhere near enough touches to even qualify for the running, unless Conner goes down—but he looks like he is putting himself in a position to really grow from his rookie season.
During the 2019 season, as a fourth-round pick, he snapped up snaps where he could, and ended up getting a touch on something like 60-70 percent of the snaps that he played. He recorded over 100 carries and scored a couple of times.
Throughout the season, though, there were certainly times where you would look at his run and wonder if maybe he could have gotten a bit more here and maybe could have gotten past this defender there for a bigger play, if only he were in better condition.
Not that he was in poor condition last season, by any means, but there is substantial room for growth in Snell’s game that can be unlocked simply by arriving at a higher level of conditioning. It looks as though he has received and acted upon that memo. So stock up.