Now that the 2020 regular season 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 are seeing over the course of the season as it plays out. Who is making plays? Who is missing them? Who is losing snaps? Who is struggling to stay on the field?
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. 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 season as we move forward.
Player: DE Chris Wormley
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: With both defensive linemen Stephon Tuitt and Isaiah Buggs being placed on the Reserve/Covid-19 List, there is a high likelihood that fourth-year veteran Chris Wormley, who was recently activated from the Reserve/Injured List, will see his most extensive playing time since being acquired by the Steelers back in March.
Knowing that they would be losing Javon Hargrave in free agency, the Steelers looked to bolster their defensive line depth when they traded a fifth-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for fourth-year veteran defensive end Chris Wormley and a seventh-round pick.
Virtually everybody, however, probably assumed that he would have played a larger role on defense by now. He hasn’t, but that is largely because their starters, Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt, had up to this point not missed any time.
And when Tyson Alualu went down and missed time, it just so happened to coincide with the time that he was injured himself, and had to sit out three weeks. But he did return to play on Sunday and managed to log eight snaps, bringing his total to a whopping 59 for the season over seven games.
Wormley has spent some time as a starter in the Ravens’ system. The Steelers acquired him because they believed him capable of serving as a spot starter if necessary. Assuming that Tuitt will be unavailable for the team on Tuesday, which is likely, as he serves time on the Reserve/Covid-19 List, this will be exactly the kind of situation he was brought in for.
Even though he has not seen a significant amount of playing time, that does not mean that he has played poorly when he has been on the field. He is by and large a prototypical 3-4 defensive end, and one on whom the team was comfortable in their evaluation. Given the current circumstances, he now likely has an opportunity to show it.