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: ILB Ulysees Gilbert III
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: Already seemingly squeaking his way through, Gilbert’s chances of playing a role in 2021, or possible even making the team, took a hit when the Steelers reversed course and re-signed veteran Vince Williams, whom they had previously released as a salary cap casualty.
When you’re a sixth-round draft pick and you have spent three separate stints on the Reserve/Injured List over the course of your first two seasons, you likely head into year three very conscious of the fact that you’re on thin ice.
That’s where Akron’s Ulysees Gilbert III finds himself after having found himself in that very position. And his circumstances were made no better by the Steelers opting to re-sign Vince Williams at a much more affordable deal than he had previously been scheduled to make.
With Williams out of the picture, Gilbert was likely just on the bubble, with Devin Bush the other starter next to Williams and Robert Spillane the top reserve, along with Marcus Allen, who converted to linebacker last season.
Even then, the numbers weren’t necessarily working out great, as the team doesn’t always keep five linebackers. These are the five that they kept last year, and he was a healthy scratch until Bush suffered a torn ACL, only for himself to get injured twice.
Now add in Miles Killebrew, signed from the Detroit Lions, who is primarily a special teams player, and you have a problem. While it depends partially on how they view the hybrid Killebrew, they do list him as a linebacker on their depth chart.
There is a very real chance that Gilbert doesn’t make the 53-man roster this year, and that’s not even taking into consideration the fact that they could draft another linebacker next week. Of course, there is always the practice squad, and I imagine that’s where he would wind up should he not make the team this year, provided he’s not claimed off waivers.