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: CB Trevor Williams
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: With Mike Hilton and Steven Nelson both gone, other than now-starter Cameron Sutton, Trevor Williams is the only other cornerback on the roster capable of playing in the slot.
And the Penn State alum be the dark horse player of the offseason? While I recently wrote about the team’s need to pursue a veteran slot cornerback on the market following their losses in the secondary, Trevor Williams could potentially be that.
Those who didn’t follow Penn State might not be that familiar with him, but he’s not green by any means. Originally signed by the Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2016, he spent the better part of four years there before starting the 2019 season on injured reserve. He has since spent some time with the Cardinals, Eagles, and Jaguars.
The Steelers added Williams to their practice squad on January 6. He was signed to a futures contract a week later. But he’s logged 41 games in his career, including 27 starts, with 113 career tackles, three interceptions, and 23 passes defensed. He started 15 games in 2017 for the Chargers.
One of Williams’ issues is that he has had a tendency to get banged up. He’s had several stints on the injured reserve list over the course of his career, and needless to say, availability is the best ability one can have—really, it’s a prerequisite.
Right now, he is the second-most experienced cornerback on the team behind Joe Haden. He is also capable of playing both inside and outside—in fact, he has spent more of his career playing on the outside rather than the slot.
Should he show well this Summer and end up making the 53-man roster, as well as playing time, that gives the Steelers some versatility if both he and Sutton were able to move between the boundary and the slot.
It would have to depend on how both of them look at either position and where they might be best suited, but if Williams can play the slot, they can leave Sutton outside so that he doesn’t have to worry about two positions. At a bare minimum, though, he would be a second player who can actually play there—which is pretty important, because Justin Layne, James Pierre, and Stephen Denmark, all of them 6’2” guys, cannot.