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: DT Carlos Davis
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: With the Steelers losing out on retaining the services of veteran defensive lineman Tyson Alualu, everybody else lower on the depth chart moves up a peg. That potentially leaves second-year defensive tackle Carlos Davis with the first crack at winning the nose tackle role.
When you draft a defensive tackle in the seventh round at a position where the perception is that you already have some modicum of depth, and that happens to come in a year where there’s a pandemic going on that strips that rookie of much of the typical integration period, you have to figure that the odds might be stacked against them for making the team.
If that was the case, then Carlos Davis defied the odds last year, which included unseating longtime veteran Daniel McCullers, though that could have been helped by a new rule that allowed teams to carry veterans of any level of accrued and credited seasons on the practice squad.
While he did make the initial 53-man roster, Davis began the season as a healthy scratch. He sat for the first seven games of the season, and really was only active because Tyson Alualu and Chris Wormley had gotten injured the previous game.
Isaiah Buggs played the most snaps at nose tackle, but Davis got a healthy chunk as well. Over the course of the back half of the season, the coaches evidently began to view the rookie as the preferable option over the slightly more veteran Buggs, who started to be a healthy scratch instead.
Ultimately, he would dress for eight games in total, including the postseason, logging about 60 snaps. He registered six tackles with one for a loss during that time, but the reality is that Buggs was a healthy scratch for three of the final four games, and only dressed afterward due to Cameron Heyward resting. He was also inactive for the playoff game.