Following the Pittsburgh Steelers’ bye week, they managed an important AFC north divisional win on the road against the Cleveland Browns. Surprisingly, it only took 15 points for the Steelers to walk away with a victory, and they had to fight for every last one of them following the Chris Boswell fake field goal concussion disaster.
Here are the players with their stock on the move after week 8:
TE ZACH GENTRY – STOCK UP
Zach Gentry has been a slow burn, coming into the league as a relatively raw tight end initially playing quarterback coming out of high school. He was undersized with a tall but lanky frame and he didn’t have the strength to be a good blocker in the NFL. He has bought into the mentality necessary to survive in the NFL as he is noticeably thicker and stronger, providing the best blocking amongst the tight end group. When Gentry has seen more snaps in-game the running game has taken off.
He replaced the injured Eric Ebron in week eight. It was never really in question if he provided more value in the blocking game than Ebron, but Gentry also provided value in the passing game contributing 39 yards on 3 receptions including a key explosive play on third down. Paired up with Pat Freiermuth, you have two well rounded tight ends on the roster for the first time in years. Gentry registered a team-high Pro Football Focus grade of 83.6.
ILB DEVIN BUSH – STOCK DOWN
There was some hope that the bye week would give Devin Bush some time to reset and shake off some of the poor play from earlier in the season, but he registered another week of struggle. None more obvious than D’Ernest Johnson’s rushing touchdown where Bush over-pursued and ran himself out of position. Minkah Fitzpatrick was on the outside, so Bush just needed to either flush him out towards Minkah or make the tackle. Instead, he gave the Browns their only touchdown of the day. He must know his assignment and stick to it while avoiding to do “too much”. Bush needs to turn things around in the second half of the season with his fifth year option decision looming. His PFF run defense grade was an abysmal 29.1.
OG TRAI TURNER – STOCK UP
Another player who had their best game of the season. Trai Turner was up against some strong defensive tackles on the Browns and was one of the major catalysts for another good week for Najee Harris and the team’s run success rates. Prior to joining the Steelers, Trai Turner had five straight seasons making the pro bowl before having a injury ridden down year in 2020. He is starting to round back into form. He allowed zero pressures, committed zero penalties, and the team consistently ran the ball to his side of the line with success. Now he needs to start stacking these types of performances.
OT DAN MOORE JR. – STOCK DOWN
As a necessary preface, Dan Moore Jr. was tasked with going up against an elite player in Myles Garrett as a rookie – talk about baptism by fire. Even still, I am not sure I have ever seen PFF give out a 0.00 grade in any category, which is exactly the grade they gave Dan Moore in pass blocking. The team largely left him on an island alone against Myles.
With Zach Banner back on the roster after spending the beginning of the season on injured reserve, both tackles have to continually earn their starting job. The caliber of competition doesn’t get any easier this week either with Khalil Mack of the Chicago Bears.
OLB TACO CHARLTON – STOCK UP
Taco Charlton was officially promoted to the 53 man roster after Melvin Ingram was traded. Mike Tomlin told the media in his Tuesday presser that part of the reason they felt comfortable trading away Ingram was the way Charlton played on Sunday. Joe Schobert said similar things after the game, saying that Charlton was “not a noticeable drop off from the other guys in rotation“. When you look at the box score, Taco didn’t record any official stats. That may change, as it appears he was responsible for the Jarvis Landry fumble with a nice punch out. With only ten snaps in the game, that is a pretty significant impact.
OLB MELVIN INGRAM – STOCK SOLD
Melvin Ingram did not play in the Steelers’ week eight game against the Browns due to a groin injury. Tomlin said as much in his Tuesday press conference last week. Still, it seems pretty likely that under other circumstances he would have maybe played. The rumors started to creep up that Melvin wanted to be traded and with the trade deadline on 11/02, it ultimately happened. The Steelers shipped off Ingram for a 6th round draft pick from the Kansas City Chiefs. The rumor mill suggested that the Steelers didn’t want to send him to an AFC contender, but that is where he went.
Ingram’s time was short and sweet in Pittsburgh and admittedly he was fun to watch in black and gold. In the process of exiting, he probably lit a fire under Alex Highsmith as the reports state that Ingram felt he was better than Highsmith. Instead of lamenting the loss of Ingram, perhaps we should be happy that 2nd year draftee/homegrown player, Highsmith, is good enough to have kept him off the field. It is all about perspective.