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: DL Henry Mondeaux
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: A former practice squad player and college free agent signing, Henry Mondeaux was called up from the squad to the 53-man roster around midseason last year—for special teams purposes, of all things—and stuck around for the rest of the year, gaining playing time defensively as well and putting him in the running to remain as a rotational lineman in 2021.
Henry Mondeaux flashed some potential during the preseason in 2019. Unfortunately, there was no preseason last year, so we had no idea what he looked like. But we did see that he showed enough to once again earn a practice squad spot.
Then he was called up in the middle of October after Devin Bush was placed on the Reserve/Injured List. He debuted against the Tennessee Titans logging six snaps on defense, 17 on special teams, which included working on the kick coverage team…and one snap on offense as a fullback.
That was the only offensive snap he would take during the year, but it opened some eyes and made it clear that the Steelers view him as an athletic player in the mold of Brett Keisel, pretty much the last Steelers defensive linemen to have a significant role on special teams coverage units.
By the end of the season, Mondeaux would log 72 snaps on defense, and a bit more than twice that number on special teams. Had he played a full season, he would have topped 200 special teams snaps, which makes him quite valuable.
The interesting thing about his roster spot is that when they brought him up, that made seven defensive linemen, a number they never carry, but they stuck with it all year. And they dressed six, when they always dressed five. The extra helmet on gameday helped, of course, but it’s clear that so much of what they valued in him was his athleticism as a big man to work on special teams.
That’s not to say that they don’t also view him as an asset on defense, and with Chris Wormley and Tyson Alualu scheduled to be free agents, there is an opportunity for him to possibly move up in the rotation in 2021.