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 veteran defensive back put up a strong performance in the Steelers’ preseason debut, often working in with the starters as the third cornerback and showing a physicality in his play, as well as an intelligence, that is an extension of the qualities he showed last season when playing at his best.
The Steelers sought a replacement for Mike Hilton last offseason when they lost the veteran nickel defender in free agency. Arthur Maulet was one of the options that they brought in, and he not only ended up making the team, but eventually becoming their primary nickel defender.
Whether or not it ends up playing out that way, with Cameron Sutton, Ahkello Witherspoon, and Levi Wallace, remains to be seen, but he certainly looks as though he not only will get playing time, but is intended to get playing time.
That showed both in his performance on Saturday night and in his usage, as the coaching staff clearly conceived the group with him as an integral part of the starting lineup on early downs when the team is in nickel packages—which is fairly often.
While not an ideal coverage defender, not dissimilar to Hilton, Maulet plays with physicality and instinct, and he showed nothing in his performance that would indicate that the coaching staff has been wrong about him.
Indeed, injuries to Witherspoon, Damontae Kazee, and Karl Joseph will only strengthen his position. While he faces little danger at this point of actually making the roster, the Joseph injury especially may well seal it, and Kazee is a competitor to see nickel snaps.
In terms of playing time, he does have to watch out for second-year Tre Norwood, whom I’ll probably also be covering in this column this week, as he is a stronger coverage player who also plays with intelligence, and he had quite a good game, as well.