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: T Jarron Jones
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: While a player like Jarron Jones was always going to be a longshot to make the 53-man roster in the first place, the offseason additions of veteran tackle-capable players like Joe Haeg and Rashaad Coward significantly diminishes the likelihood of that happening, and perhaps even makes it harder for him to make it back to the practice squad.
Originally signed last year after the XFL folded, Jarron Jones has already been with the Steelers for about a year. The only break in that chain was the time between he was waived at the end of the “preseason” to the time that he was brought back a short time later as a member of the original 14-man practice squad for last season.
The time served, however, doesn’t mean that Jones is any more likely to have an opportunity to repeat that experience. For one thing, the circumstances of last season made teams more willing to stick with players with whom they were familiar, and players who have at least been through a training camp before, rather than rookies.
The road ahead at tackle with the Steelers is a tough one for Jones, with the team bringing back Zach Banner and retaining Chukwuma Okorafor. If the season started today, they’re the two tackles, while they signed Joe Haeg to be their swing tackle. Rashaad Coward would serve as the number four tackle while also acting as a guard reserve.
Beyond that, Pittsburgh has a stockpile of raw talent at tackle. Brandon Walton is another young player who was on the practice squad for most of last season. Anthony Coyle also spent a lot of time on the practice squad, while Avionte Collins and John Leglue were later additions.
The long and short of it is, the former defensive lineman will have a hard time this offseason just fighting to retain a spot on the practice squad, and we haven’t even gotten to the draft yet. It’s highly likely that the Steelers add another tackle, possibly even in the first round, which knocks him down yet another peg.