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: OLB David Anenih
Stock Value: Purchased
Reasoning: The Steelers added a new player to the 53-man roster yesterday with the signing of rookie outside linebacker David Anenih. The college free agent was on the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad after a strong preseason. He will now remain on the 53-man roster by rule for at least the next three games, and perhaps at least until T.J. Watt, who was placed on the Reserve/Injured List in a corresponding move, returns from injury.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were in need of depth along the edge after T.J. Watt suffered a strained pectoral muscle, which has landed him on the Reserve/Injured List for at least the next six games. With Derrek Tuszka having been claimed off waivers and Hamilcar Rashed Jr. currently on the Practice Squad/Injured List, they decided to look outside the organization rather than promote Delontae Scott to the 53-man roster.
And they came up with David Anenih, a rookie college free agent out of Houston, who recorded 20.5 sacks during his college career along with 32 tackles for loss. Signed by the Tennessee Titans after the 2022 NFL Draft, he made a strong push to make their roster, but was signed to the practice squad instead.
Anenih told reporters yesterday that the Steelers had not shown any interest in him during the pre-draft process, at least in terms of speaking to him or letting him know in any way that they liked him. But after a preseason during which he recorded three sacks, forced two fumbles, and batted a couple of balls down, it’s not hard to see why Pittsburgh’s tune might have changed.
Of course, it’s possible that they did like him and did scout him but just didn’t get up to drafting him or signing him. Now, the fact that they evidently didn’t call him up after the draft to see if he was interested in signing might suggest otherwise.
But that doesn’t matter at this point. He’s here now on the 53-man roster and presumably will dress as of Sunday. How much time he sees on defense or special teams remains to be seen, but that will be dictated by how quickly he shows he is up to speed.