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: Khalil Davis
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: The former sixth-round draft pick perhaps had his chances of sticking this year improve with the retirement of Daniel Archibong—and when I sticking, I mean to the practice squad.
If the Steelers have one thing along the defensive line right now, it’s depth. They have skilled players at the top of the depth chart with Cameron Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, and Tyson Alualu. They also have Chris Wormley and Montravius Adams, a couple of other NFL veterans, and some young guys like Isaiahh Loudermilk and rookie DeMarvin Leal (this is, by the way, the top seven likely to make the 53-man roster).
But then there’s everybody else, including the Davis brothers, Carlos and Khalil. They could be competing for one spot on the practice squad. Or they could both be on the practice squad. Daniel Archibong retiring makes that possibility a little easier. Archibong was a guy who spent all of 2021 on the practice squad, so, logically, that’s an extra spot.
And Khalil was on the practice squad for a good chunk of the year, as well. So if you move Carlos from the 53 to the practice squad, the numbers still work out. That’s assuming the team is interested in keeping nine total defensive linemen, which really is not unreasonable if the talent is there when you have 16-man practice squads.
Of course, you also have Henry Mondeaux, who has a lot of experience on both the practice squad and the 53-man roster. But he’ll have to fight for whatever role might be available along with the Davis brothers, and along with rookie nose tackle Donovan Jeter.
Archibong wasn’t anybody all that particularly notable, but the reality that he spent all season on the practice squad a year ago is worth noting when discussing the prospects of somebody like Khalil Davis having the opportunity to stick around in a year in which the Steelers have a lot of depth up front, something, largely due to injuries, they didn’t have last year.