One game can be a fluke. Two games can start to be a trend. Several players had their stock on the move this week, whether from injury or just taking advantage of their opportunities. Lets get to this week’s stock picks:
OG Kevin Dotson – Stock Up
Kevin Dotson had his first career start against a five time Pro Bowl defensive tackle in Jurrell Casey and held his own. Earlier in the offseason, the rookie spoke confidently in a Steelers.com interview, saying he could hold his own against the likes of Heyward and Tuitt in practice. It appears he was not just talking a big game, but that he was able to back it up.
Dotson allowed 0 pressures per Pro Football Focus, and he was able to get to the second level in his run blocking on several occasions. With DeCastro possibly returning for week 3, its entirely possible that Dotson doesn’t start another game in 2020, but he earned the primary interior backup spot and took a big first step towards becoming the guard of the future for the Steelers.
RB Benny Snell – Stock Down
Benny Snell had an excellent outing in week one leaving many thinking he could earn a larger share of the backfield reps once James Conner returned. Well, Conner returned and Benny Snell only managed 3 carries for 5 yards and a fumble. He would have possibly been given the role to help close out the game if not for the fumble. He has a trend and history of ball security issues now, which you simply cannot do when trying to carve out a role.
Mike Tomlin didn’t go into too much detail when asked about his level of concern, but said, “I know that I’ve got some concern, because we’ve got to maintain possession of the ball, particularly in those significant moments.”
WR Chase Claypool – Stock Up
Chase Claypool has played in two NFL games, and has made two big time NFL plays. In week 1, he had the toe drag first down catch along the sideline over multiple defenders. In week 2, he had an 84 yard touchdown catch that showcased his speed, not to mention the balance it took for him to stay in bounds along the sideline.
Chase Claypool will likely start to eat into some of James Washington’s reps. Washington has always been viewed as the receiver that can stretch the field with the deep ball, but Claypool has been more effective in doing so thus far in 2020.
He is currently sporting a 91.6 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, and also offers added value as a special teamer, having 2 special teams tackles against the Broncos.
TE Vance McDonald – Stock Down
Vance McDonald is part of the two-headed attack from the tight end group that was supposed to provide Ben Roethlisberger with mismatches in the passing game. McDonald has been absent in the passing game, having 2 catches on 4 targets for 6 yards. He hasn’t been an asset in blocking game either, having a holding call in the 2nd quarter of the Broncos game that led to a punt.
CB Mike Hilton – Stock Up
Mike Hilton is under his last year of his contract on a restricted free agent tender. There was a little buzz around a potential second contract after Cameron Heyward’s deal got done, and many thought it could be a Hilton extension. That extension never came to fruition, and good for Mike Hilton because he continues to build up his stock.
Hilton was all over the field on Sunday, as number 28 was seen streaking into the backfield showing his willingness as a tackler. Mike Hilton has a a run stop percentage of 16.7%. That is the top mark for a cornerback this season and a good margin above the league average which sits around 6%. One of the best attributes of the Steelers defense right now is the full team attack of the ball, relentless pursuit, and Mike Hilton is a big piece of that.
ILB Ulysees Gilbert III – Stock Down
Ulysees Gilbert III makes this list two weeks in a row. Unfortunately, he has been unable to secure a helmet on gameday. With Vince Williams a possible cap casualty in 2020, now is the time for Gilbert to show he can be the inside linebacker of the future for the Steelers. If he continues to not get a helmet, can the Steelers confidently go through an offseason without addressing the position via free agency or the draft? Its hard to tell without getting a look at Gilbert.