2022 Stock Watch – OLB John Simon – Stock Down

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: OLB John Simon

Stock Value: Down

Reasoning: The veteran outside linebacker was signed to the practice squad late last year, and retained on a Reserve/Future contract, but with the recent signing of Genard Avery, his prospects for a roster spot are somewhat diminished.

John Simon is a name Steelers fans have had an interest in for a long time—or at least, they had an interest in him a long time ago. Now they finally have him 10 years into his career, but what are they getting from him, at the age of 32 later this year?

By the end of last year, Pittsburgh’s reserve outside linebackers were Taco Charlton and Derrek Tuszka on the 53-man roster and Simon on the practice squad. Simon was originally signed on December 13. He was elevated for the regular-season game against the Chiefs the day after Christmas as a COVID-19 replacement and logged 11 snaps without registering a statistic.

Simon joined the Titans in 2021, but only dressed for two games, making six tackles. He had been with the Patriots for the three years prior to that, logging a career-high 702 defensive snaps for them during the 2019 season.

But he’s never been a big pass rusher. He has 21 career sacks on more than 3,000 career defensive snaps played. So what does he offer over the much younger Genard Avery? Avery is not a great rusher, either, with 7.5 sacks in 1,168 snaps, but he is a better all-around player, particularly against the run.

Avery is clearly positioned as the Steelers’ top reserve outside linebacker right now. It is not clear that they will keep more than four in total on the 53-man roster this year, so Simon will be competing with Tuszka, who spent almost all of last season on the 53-man roster, logging about 250 defensive snaps and more or less acting as their top reserve after Melvin Ingram was traded. The Avery signing affects Tuszka, too, but it’s likely more of an issue for Simon.

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