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: DB Arthur Maulet
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: Since Pittsburgh signed him, Arthur Maulet has largely gone unmentioned in spite of the fact that he is by far the most experienced candidate to contend for the nickel defensive back job this season, while younger players have attracted positive attention.
We still don’t know, in the middle of June, whom the fifth defensive back is going to be for the Pittsburgh Steelers this year. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, there is still plenty of time to figure things out. We didn’t even get OTAs or minicamp last year, so it’s not much use to attribute much to what we see in the spring.
Still, in juxtaposition to the positive press that a pair of second-year players have gotten as they state their case to be the team’s fifth defensive back, the relative absence of any kind of dialogue around Arthur Maulet is at least worth acknowledging.
Signed just after the draft, Maulet is a versatile defensive back who can play anywhere in the secondary, and has experience in the slot playing with the New York Jets for the past two years. The slot defender job is open with Mike Hilton and Steven Nelson gone.
As we sit here today, it seems that 2020 sixth-round safety Antoine Brooks Jr. and college free agent cornerback James Pierre are the frontrunners for the nickel role. Both have been spoken of positively during OTAs and minicamp, and within the context of their playing in the nickel package.
Such remarks for Maulet have been absent, but one wonders if he saw little time because he’s a veteran, even if one who is new to the team, as others need the work more. Neither Brooks nor Pierre, for example, ever experienced minicamp before because of the pandemic last year.
It could very well be the case that Maulet seizes his opportunities in training camp and the preseason and shows the coaching staff that he is clearly the right option for the fifth defensive back role. But as we round the turn to this year’s Latrobe surrogate, we haven’t been fed any new information that encourages us to back him.