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: LS Christian Kuntz
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: The Steelers’ signing of a second kicker, paired with the drafting of another punter, should provide Kuntz with more opportunities to get in long-snapping work during training camp, and in the preseason, increasing his odds of giving Kameron Canaday a run for his money.
While Sam Sloman likely isn’t about to challenge Chris Boswell for the starting kicking job, it is possible that he does help Christian Kuntz put up a fight for the long snapper job. It hasn’t been made clear that that job is really up in the air, but he’s on the roster, so he has a chance.
Kuntz is a player with whom the Steelers are familiar. He spent a part of the 2019 offseason with the team, and then was on the practice squad as a backup long snapper last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. They know about him and are comfortable with him at this point.
Having two kickers and two punters in training camp, then, should help afford him get as much work as possible, more opportunities to show the coaches what he can do. If the Steelers are going to make a change at punter, as well, then it would make it a little bit easier to also make a change at long snapper at the same time.
Another factor that can play into his favor is that, unlike Canaday, Kuntz is actually a defensive player. He has experience playing linebacker. In other words, he may be more effective as a coverage player on punts, with the ability to record tackles.
It also helps that, for once, he’ll have a full offseason. He was brought in late during the 2019 season. The 2020 season was…well, very 2020. This may be his best-ever opportunity to make a 53-man roster, so he ought to make sure he is maximizing it.