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 Jamir Jones
Stock Value: Purchased
Reasoning: The Steelers were awarded their first and so far only waiver claim since the final 53-man roster cuts were made, being awarded Jamir Jones, who made the team’s initial 53-man roster a year ago only to be waived just weeks into the season while calling up Derrek Tuszka from the practice squad. Tuszka was waived yesterday now to make room for him.
While it was clear that the Steelers were not entirely satisfied with the depth that they had at the outside linebacker position, it did seem as though they were largely content with Derrek Tuszka. After all, he made the 53-man roster even in spite of the fact that Hamilcar Rashed Jr., now on the practice squad, took first-team reps just before the final cuts were made.
Now Pittsburgh’s backup edge rushers on their 53-man roster are made up entirely of players who were not on the team in the preseason. They first acquired veteran Malik Reed in a trade with the Denver Broncos, and now they have brought back Jamir Jones, who at least does have some familiarity with their defense.
First signed by the Houston Texans as a college free agent in 2020, Jones first signed with the Steelers shortly before the draft last year after working out as an alum at the Notre Dame Pro Day. As you already know, he had a good preseason and made the initial 53-man roster, but was waived a couple of weeks into the regular season, purportedly because they preferred Tuszka on special teams, whom they signed to their practice squad after the Broncos cut him.
One would imagine that Pittsburgh wanted to work Jones onto their practice squad, but he was claimed by the Los Angeles Rams via waivers. He stayed with them for most of the season until he was waived again, on Christmas Day, and was yet again claimed via waivers, by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
He had been with Jacksonville throughout since that time until he was waived on August 31. For the third time now, he has been claimed via waivers, now by the Steelers, the first team to really give him a chance.
Between the Steelers, Rams, and Jaguars, Jones logged 112 defensive snaps last season, along with 250 special teams snaps, recording 10 tackles and two quarterback hits. He played 93 defensive snaps for the Jaguars during this past preseason, registering five tackles, all of them defensive stops, and five pressures, grading positively by Pro Football Focus.