Now that the regular season 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 have seen and are seeing over the course of the offseason and the regular season 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 reasoning. 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. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: DL Henry Mondeaux
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: The second-year defensive lineman was called up from the practice squad earlier this week when Tyson Alualu was placed on the Reserve/Injured List following his ankle injury.
For the second consecutive season, Henry Mondeaux has started the season on the practice squad, only to be called up to the 53-man roster a few weeks in. Technically, Mondeaux did actually make the 53-man roster this year initially, but was quickly released three days later after the Steelers acquired cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon.
Last season, he was brought up as a seventh lineman, largely due to his ability to play on special teams, and I would imagine that he will be used in that capacity again. But he will have to play a larger role this year, simply due to the injuries the team is dealing with. Not only has Tyson Alualu been lost for the season (most likely), but Stephon Tuitt remains sidelined, without clarity on when he will get back.
Isaiahh Loudermilk is a rookie, and chances are good that Mondeaux will dress over him when there are enough bodies. But that won’t be this week with Carlos Davis also looking like he’s going to miss another week. In fact, Mondeaux will be the top backup at both spots, defensive end and nose tackle.
Cameron Heyward is obviously the thoroughbred of the group remaining, and Chris Wormley is a reliable if unspectacular veteran presence who has been starting in Tuitt’s spot. Particularly with Davis likely still out, Isaiah Buggs will be locked in at nose tackle.
Mondeaux and Loudermilk are the only ones left behind them, which is pretty remarkable given that the initial 53-man roster included eight defensive linemen. But two are on the Reserve/Injured List and another hasn’t practiced this week. Just another reminder that there is no such thing as too much depth, because you never know when bad luck will hit.