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: OL John Leglue
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: Although he finished the season starting several games following a series of injuries, John Leglue could find himself back in contention for a spot on the practice squad with the Steelers boosting their interior offensive line in free agency.
John Leglue quickly won over a lot of fans when he got onto field last year, starting a handful of games at left guard as a result of a series of injuries. His calling card was his motor, displaying a tendency to play through the echo of the whistle.
His lunch pail attitude is easy for fans to gravitate to, but it only carries you for so long—ask Zach Banner or B.J. Finney. Two players who were once embraced as starters in waiting before being cast aside, to the point where many of the same people are now glad that they’re gone.
Leglue is a career practice squad player who fell into an ideal situation late last season. First starting left guard Kevin Dotson was injured, and would miss the rest of the year. Finney was injured a short time later, and would also miss the rest of the season.
Then J.C. Hassenauer was injured in quick succession, and by the time he got back, center Kendrick Green was injured, so the Steelers finished the year with Leglue at left guard and Hassenauer at center, which certainly wasn’t the plan going in.
Finney doesn’t appear likely to be returning, nor Trai Turner, but the Steelers did sign two likely starters in free agency in James Daniels and Mason Cole. Add in Dotson, Hassenauer, and Green to battle it out for the final starting spot and two reserve roles, and that quickly finds Leglue without a roster spot.
Of course, he also has position flexibility to play tackle, so that could help him stick around. He also, of course, has the opportunity to simply earn a job, one way or another, through his play. But without having even gotten to the draft, the team has made his path a difficult one, without an obvious spot for him available.