Now that training camp is here with the Pittsburgh Steelers back in Latrobe and gearing up for what they hope will be a much more productive season, it’s time to take stock of where the team stands. Specifically, where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen and are seeing over the course of training camp and the preseason and the regular season as it plays out. A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasoning for each one. 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: DB Arthur Maulet
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: The Steelers have been featuring the veteran defensive back pretty heavily in their first-team defensive looks through the first two days of training camp, mostly rotating with Levi Wallace as the number three cornerback, a strong indication that he is inside the roster bubble.
I actually wrote about Arthur Maulet pretty recently here in this column. I discussed him shortly before training camp opened and credited him for the amount of work that he appeared to be putting in during the downtime between minicamp and training camp as he pushes for a bigger role on the team entering his second season with the club.
A lot of people weren’t really buying it, but thus far, the Steelers have indicated that they view him as a serious component of their defense, if the first couple of practices of training camp are anything to go by. And admittedly that takes a pretty big grain of salt to wash down.
Based on our camp observations, Maulet is looking like he will be the number four cornerback, and possibly even get some situational work as the number three. He actually ended up being the team’s primary nickel defender a year ago, though, so it would not be terribly shocking.
Signed on a veteran-minimum deal last year in free agency, Maulet impressed the team enough that they re-signed him on a modest two-year deal. And the Steelers didn’t draft any defensive backs, nor add any veteran cornerbacks afterward, though Damontae Kazee is a slot-capable safety.
Now, we’re still in July, I can’t help but yell out. So much can change between now and the start of the regular season, roles won and lost. But at least for the time being, there isn’t a conclusion we can reach about Maulet other than the fact that he is currently very much inside the roster bubble, and possibly even in position to retain a significant role on the defense.