Now that training camp is over with the Pittsburgh Steelers back in Pittsburgh 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: ILB Myles Jack
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: The Steelers’ biggest offseason acquisition on defense proved to be worth the money, helping to really solidify the play at the inside linebacker position in the regular season opener, an area that was a concern throughout 2021.
Myles Jack wore the black gold—any colors but the Jaguars’—in a meaningful game for the first time this past Sunday. It’s fair to say that it went well. He finished the regular season opener with 10 tackles, including one for loss, as well as a pass defensed in a performance that probably eased a lot of people’s minds who may have still had reservations about the play of the inside linebackers this year.
Well, that’s not to say that there isn’t still reason for concern about what the position as an entire group might produce. But Jack, at least, looked like the real deal, and somebody who might merit the $8 million per season the Steelers agreed to pay him over the next two years.
One thing that was evident in watching him play was his athleticism and his ability to move around in coverage, something that we did expect to see when the Steelers first signed him, but that is an important element of his game that needed to show up for this unit, and it did.
A number of Jack’s tackles did come somewhat down the field, including at the end of quarterback Joe Burrow’s 23-yard scramble, but somebody has to make those tackles, and he showed the ability to traverse quite a bit of the field in these situations.
Another very evident component of his game is simply his love for it. It’s not just when he makes a play, but when anybody on the defense does—he gets fired up and energizes those around him. He also seemed to be able to handle the green dot with zero issues, not that that should be any kind of surprise.