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 Carlos Davis
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: Following a brief window in which it appeared as though the Steelers were going to lose their starting nose tackle in free agency, Tyson Alualu had a change of heart and re-signed with the team, which renders second-year Carlos Davis back to the role of competing for a backup and rotational role rather than a starting one.
It’s always a good thing to keep a good player around—or almost always, anyway. You have to have a special set of circumstances to create an addition-by-subtraction situation, and dumping Tyson Alualu certainly wouldn’t have qualified for that.
With that said, I think there were more than a few people here, including myself, who found themselves intrigued by what Alualu’s departure would mean for Carlos Davis’ immediate future. While he didn’t get on the field much during his rookie season a year ago as a seventh-round pick, he did provide glimpses of a player who could potentially become a regular contributor.
Bringing Alualu back doesn’t change the evaluation of Davis, though, just his circumstances. You don’t sign someone for a multi-year, multi-million deal to play nose tackle if you don’t plan on putting him in the starting lineup.
Just because Alualu is back doesn’t mean that Davis can’t take steps forward, though. On the agenda would be working his way up to becoming the regular fourth or fifth lineman and to get the coaches to rotate more.
The Steelers did re-sign Chris Wormley, but would it really be a shock if Davis were to play more total defensive snaps if he really develops? The defense is primarily in nickel and dime fronts, so it’s not really a matter of end versus tackle.
For the time being, the prospect of a starting job is on hold for the Nebraska product. But I could still see it in his future. And he could help put that vision in the minds of his coaches by furthering his development in this upcoming season.