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: S Antoine Brooks Jr.
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: The Steelers went through the draft process without selecting a true safety, though they did add versatile defensive back Tre Norwood in the seventh round. Generally speaking, the team’s offseason moves haven’t really hurt his chances of making the 53-man roster so far.
For a second-year former sixth round pick, Antoine Brooks Jr.’s roster spot for 2021 seems uncommonly secure right now. That’s not necessarily a good thing for the Steelers, as it concerns their depth at the safety position right now.
The team did lose their top backup, Sean Davis, in free agency. They also, as of now, have not re-signed Jordan Dangerfield. The only other safety behind the starters aside from Brooks right now is John Battle, who spent most of last season on the practice squad, only after they lost their first option.
Brooks himself spent much of the 2020 season on the practice squad, but he was called up as an elevation a couple of times, and toward the end of the year was added to the 53-man roster outright as injuries opened up a spot.
All told, the Maryland product dressed for four games, playing 29 snaps on defense and 10 on special teams. All but one of those defensive snaps came in one game against the Cincinnati Bengals, in a game in which the team was dealing with injuries.
The Steelers don’t have much cap room at all to spend, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if they try to add a bargain basement veteran safety to the mix at some point over the course of the next couple of months. That’s what they did with Curtis Riley last year.
Tre Norwood is a player who could potentially play safety, and his ball skills would translate there. Given that the only other real competition right now is Battle, I would say that Brooks, where we are currently sitting, is in a surprisingly and disappointingly good position to make the roster with relative ease.