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: iOL Stefen Wisniewski
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: While we long knew that the worst-case scenario for Wisniewski this season was going to be serving as the Steelers’ top interior reserve, always one snap away from starting at one of any three interior line positions, it sounds as though he may get an early chance to show his worth after signing a two-year contract this offseason.
When Wisniewski first signed with the Steelers, he indicated that he was told by the coaching staff he would be given the opportunity to compete for the starting job at left guard vacated by Ramon Foster when he retired in the offseason.
As the offseason progressed—or rather, perhaps, did not—it became increasingly obvious this would not be the case, when Mike Tomlin confirmed that Matt Feiler would be taking the first reps in training camp at left guard.
Without an in-person offseason, the Steelers and every other team in the league chose to lean on familiarity in their lineups, so with Wisniewski new to the team, they favored Feiler moving to left guard and working out the right tackle position between two of their young players.
So the veteran didn’t get a chance to compete for a starting spot (and this is almost surely how it would have played out anyway), but through the misfortune of others, it appears likely he will have an opportunity to play at the start of the season anyway.
Nine-year veteran starting right guard David DeCastro has been out of practice with what has finally been classified as a knee injury, and it certainly appears unlikely that he will be playing in the Steelers’ season opener against the New York Giants on Monday night.
Wisniewski has been playing with the starters between Maurkice Pouncey and Zach Banner and building familiarity with that group. He figures to be in the lineup for at least a week, but we don’t even know the extent of DeCastro’s injury, which could possibly extend multiple weeks. Like Tyson Alualu when signed in 2017, he’ll be given an early chance to prove his worth as veteran depth.