Now that the 2021 offseason has begun, following yet another year of disappointment and 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: OL Rashaad Coward
Stock Value: Purchased
Reasoning: It was reported (over a week ago) that the Steelers signed former Bears offensive lineman Rashaad Coward to a one-year contract to add depth to the position.
We are a bit late to this one as we were covering other topics. But Rashaad Coward joins an increasingly long list of players that the Steelers have added in recent weeks to their 90-man offseason roster. And he comes in as one of the more notable names, as well.
Outside of offensive lineman Joe Haeg and linebacker Miles Killebrew (the position at which the Steelers are listing him, for now), Coward is the most experienced player among Pittsburgh’s recent additions, many of whom are first-year players.
A former undrafted free agent out of Old Dominion, Coward originally signed with the Bears following the 2017 NFL Draft. He spent the next four years there. A defensive lineman in college, Coward converted to offensive line in 2018. He spent most of his rookie year on the practice squad and most of 2018 inactive, but has played nearly 1,000 snaps over the past two seasons.
Coward played in 13 games for the Bears in 2019, starting 10 of them and playing 662 total snaps. He also started five of 16 games last season, with 333 snaps. He has primarily played guard, but has also seen some time at tackle, giving him position flexibility.
While Coward’s stock is based on his veteran experience, he shouldn’t be locked into a roster spot just yet. At the moment, the following players should be regarded as locks, pending the draft: Chukwuma Okorafor, Kevin Dotson, B.J. Finney, David DeCastro, Zach Banner, J.C. Hassenauer, and Joe Haeg. That likely leaves two spots left over for the position.
Right now, Coward’s stock sees him very much inside that bubble, but the draft could change things significantly. I don’t think anybody would be surprised if the Steelers drafted two offensive linemen. Possibly even two in the first two days of the draft.