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: S Sean Davis
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: Veteran safety Sean Davis played five snaps on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals in his most extensive defensive playing time of the season. They came at the end of a blowout during which Jordan Dangerfield, James Pierre, and Justin Layne were also on the field.
I must admit that I was somewhat excited when the Washington Football Team released Sean Davis with their roster cuts and the Steelers chose to pick him up. I held out an expectation that he would be worked into a sub-package role at some point over the course of the year.
As if that notion weren’t already dead, it was thoroughly cemented by the events that transpired on Sunday. And it’s not even just the fact that the only playing time on defense that he got during the game was the same playing time that rookie undrafted free agent James Pierre got. It was about who was playing ahead of him.
And that is basically everybody. That list now includes rookie sixth-round practice squad safety Antoine Brooks, who logged dozens of snaps against the Bengals in a dime sub-package, snaps that he didn’t have to play but was rather given.
At this point, it is more likely that the Steelers later this season will waive Davis and sign Brooks to the 53-man roster than that Davis will ever play in a game for reasons other than injury or a blowout score. It is entirely the case that he is only here to be a backup starter behind Terrell Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick and to play on special teams.
The fact that we have barely seen him play in two years doesn’t really help gauge where he is and whether or not he is really still capable of playing. Only the coaching staff and his teammates have seen the way that he practices.
I would assume that if he were playing at a certain level, that they would get him on the field in recent weeks in some sub-package or another due to injury. This is a guy that they drafted believing that he could play anywhere in the secondary, and was a primary starter for years. Now he can’t even get a backup rotational injury opportunity.