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: WR Cody White
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: While all of the offseason talk about the Steelers’ wide receiver depth has focused on Anthony Miller and Steven Sims, the departures at the position will also increase the odds of Cody White retaining a spot on the 53-man roster.
Cody White went undrafted out of Michigan State in 2020 (where he was teammates with Connor Heyward). He was first signed by the Kansas City Chiefs, and also bounced around to the New York Giants and Denver Broncos before the Steelers signed him to their practice squad on September 24, 2020.
He has remained a part of the organization since then, minus the time between his initial cut last year to the time he was re-signed to the practice squad as soon as possible. And he has spent quite a bit of time on the 53-man roster since then.
White actually made his NFL debut before he was promoted on October 9 following JuJu Smith-Schuster’s shoulder injury. He was elevated in Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals, and he caught two passes for 17 yards.
He finished the season with just five catches for 33 yards, playing a total of 77 offensive snaps, but he also played over 100 snaps on special teams, and dressed for all but two games. The Steelers like his size (6’3”, 210 pounds), and what they have seen from him in practice.
With Smith-Schuster, James Washington, and Ray-Ray McCloud all gone, there are some open opportunities. The Steelers already added Gunner Olszewski, and they will undoubtedly draft at least one wide receiver, but that still leaves one or two jobs open.
Obviously, more experienced veterans like Miller and Sims will be in the running, but we shouldn’t forget about White, who did, after all, spend the entire 2021 season ahead of them on the depth chart, serving on the 53-man roster while they were on the practice squad. That wasn’t just because they were new to the system, but because they actually like White.