Now that the 2021 offseason has begun, following yet another year of disappointment, a fourth consecutive season with no postseason victories, 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 offseason as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future.
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: TE Dax Raymond
Stock Value: Purchased
Reasoning: In curious timing, the Steelers re-signed tight end Dax Raymond to a Reserve/Future contract the day before Vance McDonald officially announced that he would be retiring from the NFL, the team signing another tight end as well at the same time.
Remember Dax Raymond? He spent a brief period of time with the Steelers last Summer, and now he’s back. Originally signed by the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent in 2019, he spent time on their practice squad as a rookie but was let go the following year.
Pittsburgh eventually signed him in the Summer, but suffered an injury roughly a month into his time with the team in late August. He was waived injured. At some point during the regular season, he did spend some time on the Green Bay Packers’ practice squad.
With Vance McDonald and tight ends coach James Daniel retiring, there is change afoot at the position, and perhaps opportunity for some younger guys to get some attention. Raymond and Kevin Rader, who has spent most of the past two seasons on the practice squad, now have an opportunity to state their case to a new coach.
Raymond is a player whom some around here were interested when he came out of the draft as a prospect at the position who was capable of both catching the ball and blocking, which is something that the Steelers seemingly always strive for but never possess.
Of course, he is just as likely to amount to nothing as he is to become a contributor, though right now Eric Ebron is the only name of note at the position. Zach Gentry, a 2019 fifth-round pick, is coming back from a knee injury and has hardly contributed himself.