2021 Offseason Questions: Will Steelers Put In Waiver Claim For Derwin Gray?

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books. It ended in spectacular fashion — though the wrong kind of spectacular — in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.

Since then, they have lost several players in free agency who were key members of the offense and defense. Multiple starters retired, as well. They made few notable additions in free agency, and are banking on contributions on offense from their rookies, as well as perhaps a last ride for Ben Roethlisberger.

The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions. Right now, they lack answers. They know that they have Roethlisberger for one more year, but was that even the right decision? How successful can Najee Harris be behind a questionable offensive line? What kind of changes can Matt Canada and Adrian Klemm bring to the offense? And how can the defense retain the status quo with the losses of Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Mike Hilton?

These are the sorts of questions we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football is a year-round pastime and there are always questions to ask, though there is rarely a concrete answer. This is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all of their uncertainty.

Question: Will the Steelers attempt to claim former draft pick Derwin Gray off waivers?

The Jacksonville Jaguars waived former Steelers draft pick Derwin Gray, an offensive lineman out of Maryland, as teams complied with requisite roster cuts yesterday to trim their numbers down to 80. Will Pittsburgh be interested in bringing him back?

A 2019 seventh-round draft pick, he spent his rookie season on the practice squad, and began there last season as well. He was called up in Week 2, however, after both Zach Banner and Stefen Wisniewski were injured. He would spend most of the season on the roster, dressing for five games and logging 25 total snaps, before late-season injuries forced them to make a move.

He was waived the day after Christmas in order to sign linebacker Tegray Scales—waived last week—to the 53-man roster, which is when the Jaguars claimed him. But now he is free again, and they have been known to bring back players before, even if it usually doesn’t work out in the long run.

This year, the bottom of the offensive line depth chart is somewhat unsettled, between B.J. Finney, J.C. Hassenauer, and Rashaad Coward, though I’m not sure that Gray would be able to make the 53-man roster ahead of any of them. Still, I would like to see them bring him back in and see what he can do, and possibly work back to the practice squad if he does not make the team.

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