The Pittsburgh Steelers are 9-0, and have already surpassed their 2019 win total through 10 weeks. On top of that, the Baltimore Ravens dropped another game on Sunday Night Football, so the Steelers now have a three game stranglehold on the AFC North. Given the 36-10 trouncing of the Cincinnati Bengals, its tough to identify many players who have their stock moving down, but nevertheless here is a crack at a Week 10 stock report.
CB Cameron Sutton – Stock Up
Cameron Sutton has really made the most of his increased opportunity in Mike Hilton’s absence. Sutton has now had a forced fumble in three straight games, the first Steelers defensive back to do that since 2000. Beyond his splashy plays, he has been excellent in coverage. Per Pro Football Focus, he was the Steelers top defender in pass coverage with a grade of 90.0, and with a tough assignment against Tyler Boyd for much of the game. He did allow 5 receptions on 7 targets, but limited the damage to 33 yards included the aforementioned forced fumble.
Once healthy, Mike Hilton will pair up nicely with Cameron Sutton in dime packages to add more versatility and playmaking ability.
FB Derek Watt – Stock Down
Derek Watt was brought in as a part of Art Rooney II’s offseason mandate to improve the running game. While the running game’s failures surely don’t fall squarely on Watt’s shoulders, he has done little to boost the unit. Beyond his performance, he has had trouble staying on the field with a nagging hamstring injury keeping him out for a handful of games this season. The Steelers ran five times with Derek Watt on the field for a grand total of zero yards. Two plays where he was asked to lead block, he completely missed his assignment and whiffed on the defender.
He was signed to a relatively lucrative contract for a fullback last offseason, and could very easily find himself one-and-done with the Steelers.
OLB Ola Adeniyi – Stock Up
Ola Adeniyi found himself on the opposite end of this list a couple weeks back, as Alex Highsmith took over his role in the defense entirely. Nothing has changed there, but Adeniyi has still found a way to make himself valuable to the team on special teams. On the Steelers’ first punt, Adeniyi was able to punch the ball out to lead to the Steelers first points of the day. This lead was never surrendered by the Steelers and set the tone for the rest of the game.
Adeniyi was given a very high 92.6 grade on special teams by PFF. This is an excellent way for a player to cement his place in the organization for years to come, and with Bud Dupree set to depart in the offseason it would be a tough decision to move on from him given the value he adds on special teams.
WR Chase Claypool – Stock Up
Chase Claypool burst back onto the scene in a big way with a two touchdown performance. Funny enough, he was trained in the offseason by former Bengal receiver, T.J. Houshmandzadeh who called him the best receiver in the draft. He is certainly living up to the hype with nine total touchdowns, and double digit targets in two straight weeks.
One of my favorite plays that he made in the Bengals game is one that did not result in a completion. Ben Roethlisberger extended the play by rolling out to the right, and Claypool recognized the broken play and changed his route up. A lot of receivers might quit on the play, or not recognize what’s happening, but Claypool quickly recognized what was happening and put himself in position to make a play. He did not ultimately make the catch, but heads up plays like this will pay dividends when Ben Roethlisberger is your quarterback.
ILB Robert Spillane – Stock Up
The Steelers played extensive dime throughout the game against the Bengals, and Robert Spillane still managed to stay on the field as the only linebacker a majority of the time. He played 45 defensive snaps to Vince Williams’ 34, so he is establishing himself as the true every down linebacker. As he gets more comfortable with his starting position he has earned the trust of the coaching staff.
Spillane managed to register a sack against Joe Burrow, and had three run stops in the game. His sure tackling and general assignment-sound football make him what every Steelers fan wished Tyler Matakevich could have been on defense. This was only Spillane’s fourth career start, so its reasonable to expect him to continue to improve.
CB Justin Layne – Stock Down
Justin Layne finds himself on this list as a result of rookie, Antoine Brooks Jr., taking his spot as the sixth defensive back in the dime package. Layne had contributed a little in the two previous weeks, but registered only six defensive snaps against the Bengals compared to Brooks’ 28. With Mike Hilton possibly returning from injury, Layne could fail to register another defensive snap this season.