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: OLB Melvin Ingram
Stock Value: Purchased
Reasoning: The Steelers agreed to terms with the former Pro Bowl free agent pass rusher yesterday on a one-year deal reportedly worth $4 million.
It was clear heading into training camp that the outside linebacker position was among the weakest on the roster from a depth perspective. Even with one of the best players in the game in T.J. Watt, an inexperienced starter and a couple of unexciting reserves does not make for a compelling unit taken as a whole.
They addressed that in a serious way with the addition of Melvin Ingram, a former first-round pick and Pro Bowler, who is perhaps nearing the end of his career. He is now going into his 10th season and turned 32 in April.
Ingram missed most of last season, though he was able to play 16 games between 2015-2018 every year. Chances are health and availability may be an issue with him at some point this year, but of course he’s being brought in as a reserve, not as a full-time starter—which should also potentially help keep him healthy and available.
Before the signing, the Steelers’ top two backups at outside linebacker were veteran journeyman Cassius Marsh and rookie sixth-round pick Quincy Roche. While the latter was considered a ‘steal’, studies show that early analyses of ‘steals’ are not nearly as accurate as ‘reaches’. In other words, the steals don’t often exceed their draft position, but it’s common for the reaches to fail to do so.
Even assuming Roche works out, it would be highly questionable for the Steelers to feel comfortable going into a season with Marsh and the rookie as their only depth behind Watt and Highsmith. Ingram was a smart addition for many reasons, with higher upside than many might be thinking, depending upon how things ultimately play out. It’s not like he hasn’t started 100 games in his career. He knows a thing or two.