Now that the 2021 season is over, bringing yet another year of disappointment, a fifth 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 season and into 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. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: CB Arthur Maulet
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: With the Steelers not only re-signing Ahkello Witherspoon but also adding Levi Wallace in free agency, Arthur Maulet is now poised to take on an entirely reserve role.
Even though the Steelers decided to re-sign Arthur Maulet this offseason to a two-year contract after being satisfied with what they saw from him on a one-year flier contract in 2021, the way things are currently shaping up, he may not see the field much if at all on defense, barring health.
Right now, the Steelers’ top three cornerbacks are Cameron Sutton, Ahkello Witherspoon, and Levi Wallace. It is not clear who the number three is, but Sutton would be the one playing in the slot in nickel and dime defenses.
The Steelers were expected to re-sign one of either Witherspoon or Joe Haden. It wasn’t really anticipated that they would add a second outside cornerback. Having done so, however, it reshapes the pecking order, with Maulet falling down a peg.
Sutton will be the primary slot defender, but the number two slot defender could well be second-year defensive back Tre Norwood, who actually opened the 2021 season as the primary slot defender. The Steelers are surely looking to give him a bigger role. I would guess that he is the favorite to be the dime back at the moment.
But at the end of the day, being unable to find a spot for Maulet on the field would be a good problem to have. He is not a great coverage defender in one-on-one, but he can function in zone schemes and is an intelligent player who is a willing run defender. He will be an asset on special teams in the meantime.
His best-case scenario would probably be being the number two slot defender and dime, which is within the realm of possibility, but not perhaps the most likely outcome. But he will be valuable depth either way it works out in the end.