The regular season marks the culmination of an extensive investigation into who your team will be that year. By this point, you’ve gone through free agency, the draft, training camp, and the preseason. You feel good in your decisions insofar as you can create clarity without having played meaningful games. But there are still plenty of uncertainties that remain, whether at the start of the regular season or the end, and new ones continually develop over time.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Arthur Maulet should be the Steelers’ nickel defender.
Explanation: It seems as though the veteran defensive back is always making a play whenever he has the chance to get on the field. Meanwhile, rookie Tre Norwood and second-year James Pierre are both playing to their level of experience, which is not much.
The guy who is making the most plays should be the one who is playing the most, and between the three defensive backs, Arthur Maulet has clearly been the most impactful player. He shows his veteran experience, having been able to make a number of plays in very little playing time. He only played 25 snaps in the first three weeks.
Perhaps that’s going to start the change. For as much hype as Pierre has gotten over the course of the offseason, he has been made to look like a former undrafted free agent with limited athleticism…which is what he is.
Maulet has made a few plays in the backfield, happening to be in position at the time. Cameron Sutton has done that too when he’s been in the slot. I’m sure his experience has been a benefit to him, but it’s not like he has offered irreplaceable play.
It’s obvious that the secondary is experiencing growing pains, and Maulet can certainly be a part of the solution, but Pierre and Norwood are gaining important playing time right now that will benefit them in the long run.
None of these defensive backs have shown to sort of play that suggests one should be made the focal point of their fifth DB role. Maulet can get some more playing time, which helps keep Sutton on the outside, but he doesn’t need to become a 50-snaps-a-game player, either.