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 T.D. Moultry
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: The rookie college free agent outside linebacker heads into training camp with a legitimate opportunity to make the 53-man roster due to a lack of depth at the position, which the Steelers, at least thus far, opted not to address with an open roster spot, signing defensive lineman Doug Costin to fill the void left by the retirement of Daniel Archibong.
Outside linebacker tends to be the position most often cited by Steelers fans as in need of further depth, although running back and offensive tackle are also high-priority answers to that question. But this is a Pittsburgh team that went out and signed Melvin Ingram last year to be their number three.
They still have T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith as their starters, returning from last season, but for the moment, it appears that Derrek Tuszka is the favorite to be their number three, which is not exactly inspiring. They also have Genard Avery, another veteran who is more of a run stopper than pass rusher.
In addition to bringing back Tuzar Skipper, one of their former undrafted free agents, the Steelers did sign two rookie college free agents this year, with T.D. Moultry being the one I will note today. Tyree Johnson would be equally applicable here, but he reportedly dealt with injuries during the spring that limited his ability to participate, and injuries were a concern for him in college.
The only competition these rookies have is to beat out at least one of either Tuszka or Avery, as well as Skipper, at the worst, which shouldn’t be an impossible task. Tuszka was a special-teamer in 2020 for the Broncos before getting cut last year. He only played snaps for the Steelers in 2021 because Ingram forced his way off the team.
Avery has had a bit more accomplished of a career, but if reports are true that Tuszka is actually the favorite to be the number three, then that’s not saying much for him. And there is also the possibility that the team carries five outside linebackers, which is not uncommon, making the path to a spot on the 53-man roster that much easier.