Now that training camp 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 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. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: OLB Jamir Jones
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: The first-year player out of Notre Dame has made the initial 53-man roster as the Steelers’ fourth outside linebacker, an indication that he should stick, rather than quickly be turned over in a roster reshuffle.
Arguably the roster story that has fans the most excited is the fact that Jones made the team. And not just that he made the team, but that he did so as the fourth outside linebacker, behind only T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, and Melvin Ingram.
Had they also kept Cassius Marsh or Quincy Roche, you would be more concerned about how secure his roster spot is, but the Steelers are not going to dip below four outside linebackers unnecessarily, and he’s clearly the fourth linebacker here, rather than potentially being the fifth, had they kept one of the other two.
Put simply, Jones earned it. He was one of the most consistent performers not just for the Steelers on defense but probably throughout the league during the preseason. He also more than proved that he has the want-to to play special teams, logging among the most snaps on the team there while also leading in special teams tackles.
But that’s not what gets fans excited. His performance on special teams play was lauded tangentially as one of the reasons the team might keep him. The reason fans are excited is because he flashed as a defensive player, particularly as a pass rusher, who spent a good amount of time in opposing offenses’ backfields over the past several weeks.
Given that he will certainly have a helmet on Sundays due to his special teams play—he’s likely going to be a four-phase player who can potentially hit 300-plus special teams snaps—he also stands a chance of seeing some opportunities defensively as well, though of course Ingram is going to be the first off the bench.