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: T Dan Moore Jr.
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: After missing the regular-season finale due to an ankle injury, rookie starting left tackle Dan Moore Jr. looks to be trending toward playing for the Steelers this week in the opening round of the postseason.
Former Steelers offensive line coach Adrian Klemm was quick to quash any suggestions of a limitation placed on Dan Moore Jr. just after they drafted him in the fourth round out of Texas A&M. The loaded questions from reporters were implying that he would have a redshirt year. When he was asked outright what his expectations were for him as a rookie, though, he made it very clear. I expect him to compete for a job, he said.
Whether or not he would have landed a starting job if not for a setback for Zach Banner in his recovery from a torn ACL, it’s impossible to say for sure, but regardless of how he got into the starting lineup, he’s been there, at left tackle, all season.
And he hasn’t played nearly as bad as many seem to think. He’s actually shown a good bit of potential, and has grown as the season has gone on. There may be no better measuring stick than to compare how he played in the first game against the Cleveland Browns and then in the second.
And he had his ankle rolled up on early in that second game, yet continued to play through it. An injury that was significant enough to sideline him for a must-win game. Now he’s practicing at full participation heading into Friday, however, and looks to rejoin his linemates.
Whether or not fellow rookie starter Kendrick Green will be out there with him remains to be seen. J.C. Hassenauer has started the past two games with Green being injured and then having COVID-19 and missing practice time. Trai Turner’s comments earlier this week may have implied that Hassenauer is running with the first-team unit.