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: Down
Reasoning: The about-face pulled on the Jacksonville Jaguars by Tyson Alualu, which resulted in him re-signing with the Steelers, puts second-year defensive lineman Henry Mondeaux on much thinner ice as far as making the 53-man roster is concerned.
The Steelers liked Henry Mondeaux enough last year that they justified to themselves the value of carrying a seventh defensive lineman on the 53-man roster, something that I honestly cannot recall them ever doing in the 3-4 era for any length of time, at least when accounting for injury variables.
The biggest reason that he ended up sticking is because they liked what he was able to bring on special teams, a big body who could actually chase down kicks, and he ended up logging a considerable amount of time for Danny Smith’s units.
But when putting together the initial 53-man roster to start the season, I’m willing to put money down in saying that ‘kickoff-coverage defensive lineman’ is low on the priority list. If he’s going to make the team, it will almost surely have to be at the expense of another defensive lineman.
That’s not an impossibility, mind you, especially if they view him as a nose tackle-capable player. He did log snaps there last season. Isaiah Buggs spent much of the second half of the year as a healthy scratch, and would seem to be the likeliest player to potentially lose out.
Even before Mondeaux was brought up to the 53-man roster from the practice squad, the Steelers used one of their protected slots on him on a weekly basis, opting to use it on him over the long-tenured Daniel McCullers, who spent the first couple of weeks on the practice squad for the first time in his career before being signed by the Chicago Bears.
Given that they are returning all seven defensive linemen from last season’s roster, I think it would be a surprise if they use a draft pick on the position, which will play in Mondeaux’s favor. But there’s already enough competition at the back end of the depth chart to make this summer interesting, at least for those who find the battle for the sixth defensive lineman spot on a 53-man roster interesting.