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: CB Cameron Sutton
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: Heading into unrestricted free agency, four-year veteran cornerback Cameron Sutton is coming off of his best season with by far his most extensive and most versatile playing experience, making several starts both in the slot and on the outside, and playing generally well all around.
It remains to be seen how the football world outside of the Steelers’ front office is going to look at Cameron Sutton when it comes time to writing checks, but given the hand that he was dealt, he did about everything that could have been expected of him at his position.
Having the opportunity to start numerous games this year due to injuries to Mike Hilton, Steven Nelson, and Joe Haden, the former third-round pick played more than 500 snaps on defense in 2020, more than twice the number of snaps he had in any of his first three seasons.
He finished with a career-high 30 tackles, including one for a loss, with one interception, eight passes defensed, and three forced fumbles, as well as one recovered fumble. He even had a sack on top of that, though via technicality.
With both Sutton and Hilton scheduled to be free agents, one has to figure that the Steelers are going to try hard to keep at least one of them around. Presumably, the former would be the more affordable one as the player with less experience and less of a resume, who never had much of a fixed role over the course of his career.
Should they re-sign him but lost Hilton, then he would move into the role of the starting nickel cornerback, but they could also have options. If they would prefer to play him outside, they could move Nelson inside, depending on how they view their relative physicality.