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: CB Trevor Williams
Stock Value: Sold
Reasoning: Following the signing of defensive back Arthur Maulet, the Steelers released two players in order to make room, including veteran cornerback Trevor Williams, who was originally signed to the practice squad in January and then retained on a futures deal.
It probably says more about the state of the Steelers’ cornerback depth chart that it came with slight surprise and alarm that the team waived cornerback Trevor Williams last week. Signed literally in January to participate on the practice squad, he pretty much had a cup of coffee with the team.
But with the losses of Steven Nelson and Mike Hilton this offseason, the former as a salary cap casualty, he was being viewed by many fans, including myself, admittedly, as a potential dark horse candidate to get on the field and play, either in the slot or outside, as the number three corner.
An undrafted free agent out of Penn State, Williams is a five-year veteran who spent his first three seasons with the Chargers, starting 27 of 37 games during that time. Playing time has been sparse since then, however, in part due to injuries.
Late in the season after Joe Haden tested positive for Covid-19, the Steelers added Williams for depth onto their practice squad, this coming in early January. Then they, of course, shortly exited the playoffs, and he was retained on a Reserve/Future deal.
As it stands, Cameron Sutton is moving into the starting lineup to replace Nelson, while James Pierre and Justin Layne will compete to serve as the number three cornerback, though Arthur Maulet, listed as a safety, is also capable of being a slot defender.
Pittsburgh used a seventh-round draft pick on Tre Norwood this year, and they also added a couple of notable defensive backs as college free agents, particularly Shakur Brown and Lamont Wade, whom they are hoping will be able to contend for roster spots, if not playing time, later this Summer and Fall.