The Steelers secured their first 4-0 start since 1979 against the Philadelphia Eagles in week 5. Let’s take a look at whose stock is on the move after this hot start.
WR Chase Claypool – Stock Up
This one is obvious, as Claypool broke the Steelers rookie record for touchdowns, having scored four in the week 5 game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Beyond the touchdowns, Claypool had a handful of key 3rd down conversions as he quickly becomes a trusted target for Ben Roethlisberger in key moments. His role has been growing each week, and may grow even more considering Diontae Johnson can’t seem to stay on the field. Claypool could very well find himself as a mainstay starting on the outside as the season progresses, allowing Juju Smith-Schuster to slide into the slot where he has been productive in his career.
Per Pro Football Focus, Claypool is averaging 9.3 yards after the catch which is the 2nd best mark in the NFL. They have him rated as the 6th best receiver in the league this year with a passer rating when targeted of 150.8. Not bad for a rookie, especially with a limited preseason.
OG Stefen Wisniewski – Stock Down
It feels impolite to put his stock down while he is injured, but Stefen Wisniewski will likely find himself without a role in the offense once he returns from the injured reserve. Kevin Dotson has played very well, and Wisniewski’s lone start before he got injured was not a great performance. If anything, he may find himself back to square one as the primary interior backup depending on how long David DeCastro is out for. He is still a useful piece of veteran depth, but a rookie 4th rounder has already beat him out.
S Terrell Edmunds – Stock Up
Terrell Edmunds has drawn the ire of the fanbase, but is progressing nicely this season. He registered 5 tackles, 1 pressure, and 2 stops. He has been one of the surest tacklers on the team, and has contributed to the team effort of shutting down the run week after week. His physicality at the line of scrimmage is not in question, and he has overall avoided being a liability for a vast majority of the season, though he curiously was not in with the starting defense at the very beginning of the game.
S Minkah Fitzpatrick – Stock Down
I warned in the last stock report that Minkah Fitzpatrick’s stock was even, but could turn downward with another uninspiring performance. Don’t get me wrong, teams are doing everything they can to avoid targeting Minkah with only four targets his way, zero in week 5, but he has failed to make any splash plays this season and he is averaging a missed tackle per game. Minkah’s stock was already high so this downward trend just takes him down a notch, but great players find a way to put their stamp on a game which Minkah has failed to do through four weeks.
DL Stephon Tuitt – Stock Up
Stephon Tuitt is back to his pre-injury 2019 form creating disruption at a staggering rate. So far this season, Tuitt has 10 quarterback hits in just four games – only five less than the entire Carolina Panthers defense has through five games. He is currently on pace for 40 (!!) quarterback hits which would double his next best season. His 1.5 sacks against the Eagles bring his season total to 3.5 with many more near-sacks that didn’t come to fruition. Pro Football Focus had Stephon Tuitt graded out at 89.5 for the game, and he just appears to be rounding into form after missing most of the 2019 season. The Steelers front seven is arguably the best in the league, and Tuitt could very well end the season as the best of the bunch.
KR/WR Ray-Ray McCloud – Stock Up
Ray-Ray McCloud was added midway through the 2020 training camp and was viewed as little more than a camp body at the time. He started out the season returning kicks and quickly showed that it is just a matter of time before he hits a homerun in the return game. In week five, he found himself with a legitimate role in the offense. He registered 18 snaps, and totaled 75 yards on offense. He was even the teams leading rusher thanks to a 58 yard explosive play.
McCloud’s biggest knock coming into the season was his ball security issues which *knock on wood* hasn’t reared its ugly head yet this season. He should only see his role expand in the offense, as he adds a different dimension that teams have to respect. The Steelers have finally figured out a way to implement a speedster without making it glaringly obvious that he is getting the ball every time he is in the game.