2022 Stock Watch – OLB Derrek Tuszka – 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 Derrek Tuszka

Stock Value: Down

Reasoning: Although he should at this point very much be considered as a favorite to make the team, the team’s signing of veteran former Steeler Tuzar Skipper does give him some more experienced competition to fend off for a roster spot than a couple of undrafted rookies.

One thing that we know for certain about the Steelers’ outside linebacker position is that there isn’t even close to a controversy in the starting lineup. T.J. Watt is a no-brainer, but the team has not brought in anybody this offseason who could even be suggested as possibly offering some competition for Alex Highsmith.

Not that they should be looking to find a starter other than Highsmith, but the point is, there is a very clear line of demarcation between those within the position who are starters, or starter caliber, and those who are reserves, who realistically won’t likely ever crack a starting lineup by beating out quality competition.

Genard Avery is the best of that bunch, and is presumably the runaway favorite to be the number three at the position, but it opens up a lot after that. The ‘incumbent’ is Derrek Tuszka, who began last season on the practice squad, and did play a decent amount of snaps, showing a modicum of improvement over the course of the year.

For a while, the Steelers did have veteran John Simon on the roster, but he was released after the draft, whereupon they signed T.D. Moultry and Tyree Johnson, a pair of undrafted players. But recently, the team also added Tuzar Skipper, who does have some NFL experience.

And he’s also a player the Steelers have signed three times now, so clearly they like him enough to keep coming back to him even when they part ways. Skipper recently said that Pittsburgh is where he felt most at home in the NFL, even if he had not been here in a year and a half.

One can only hope that he can provide some quality competition for the fourth linebacker spot. Especially since there may not be room for a fifth due to demands for roster spots at other positions this year.

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