The Pittsburgh Steelers advanced to 2-3 after a much needed win at home against the Denver Broncos. The Steelers played their most complete game of the year, as all three phases contributed evenly in the win.
Here are the players with their stock on the move after the week five victory:
WR CHASE CLAYPOOL – STOCK UP
With Juju Smith-Schuster’s unspecified season ending shoulder injury, multiple receivers will find themselves with increased opportunity. James Washington can probably be listed here for similar reasons, but Chase Claypool had a bit of a breakout game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday amassing 130 yards and a touchdown on five receptions.
His longest reception of the day was from the slot where he was able to get the ball in space and showcase his athleticism, running all the way across the field and getting up the sideline for 59 yards. JuJu was taking a lot of snaps as the slot receiver, and Claypool is the next best option to fill that role. He led the Steelers’ offense with an 87.4 overall grade from Pro Football Focus.
RB BENNY SNELL JR. – STOCK DOWN
When Najee Harris was in the game the offense was working. The turning point for the offense was Najee Harris’ cramps and subsequent exit from the game. Benny Snell shouldn’t be that big of a fall off from a rookie, as the offense struggled to get anything done on the ground in the fourth quarter. The Steelers had their first big lead of the season and they were unable to effectively run to close it out.
On the opening kickoff, Snell was called for holding and later that same drive he dropped a pass that led to third and long. That drive led to a touchdown, but it very easily could have stalled out due to his mistake. Snell doesn’t seem to have a firm grip on the backup running back position, and things will only get more complicated once Anthony McFarland Jr. returns.
OT CHUKWUMA OKORAFOR – STOCK UP
Chuks Okorafor had a rough first few games at the beginning of the season before suffering a concussion that held him out of Week 4. Joe Haeg filled in and looked like an instant upgrade, but Chuks ultimately retained his job after being cleared from the concussion protocol.
It wasn’t all perfect, but he was tasked with blocking perennial All-Pro Von Miller most of the game and allowed zero pressures on Ben Roethlisberger. He did commit two penalties, which will need to change, but he has been well above average in pass blocking this year. It will be interesting to see what happens, if anything, once Zach Banner is activated off IR. Mike Tomlin mentioned that having too many quality linemen is a good problem to have.
CB AHKELLO WITHERSPOON – STOCK DOWN
The Steelers traded a fifth-round pick to the Seattle Seahawks for Ahkello Witherspoon right before the season started. With Cam Sutton out of the lineup due to an injury in Week 5, Ahkello still didn’t get a hat and remained a healthy scratch. When you look at the pedigree and age of some of the players getting playing time over him, you have to wonder if he will ever suit up barring disaster.
This one hurts a little more when you consider recent defensive player of the year, Stephon Gilmore, was just traded to the Carolina Panthers for a sixth-round pick.
CB ARTHUR MAULET – STOCK UP
Arthur Maulet started the season as the “54th man” on the roster, getting released at the final wave of cutdowns and being re-signed a day later as Zach Banner, Stephon Tuitt, and Anthony McFarland headed to IR.
Over the past two games, Maulet has tightened his grip as the slot corner as he out snapped Tre Norwood in Weeks 4 and 5. He allowed zero receptions on two targets into his coverage. He had been grading out well from PFF all season in limited snaps, so its nice to see his level of play stay high with a larger sample size.