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: WR Steven Sims
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: Perhaps entirely due to the fact that the Steelers placed rookie wide receiver Calvin Austin III on the short-term Reserve/Injured List, Steven Sims finds himself a member of the 53-man roster and will possibly have the opportunity to contribute on Sunday, after essentially a year stuck on the practice squad in 2021.
Would Steven Sims be on the 53-man roster right now if Calvin Austin III didn’t get injured? Well, no, probably not. Does that mean that he wasn’t worthy of a 53-man roster spot? Absolutely not. Nor does it mean that he can’t use this time that he has available to him—at least the next four games, if not considerably longer—to prove himself and make the case that he belongs on the roster even when or if Austin is activated.
While arguably his biggest splash during the preseason came on special teams as a punt returner, a job that will be held by Gunner Olszewski, Sims does also possess the ability to contribute on offense, and that includes working those jet sweeps that Matt Canada is so fond of.
In fact, his skill set is well-suited to that assignment as a skedaddler, a term Mike Tomlin coined and to which I’m now committed for life because I just enjoy it so much. Skedaddling is a fundamental element of being a return man, the ability to very quickly and precisely weave your way through high-speed traffic, and that also applies to these end-around runs, which he worked to success during the preseason.
Of course, he is also capable of catching the football, make no mistake. He can work as a shifty slot presence, and quite honestly, I would be very much open to him and Olszewski competing for playing time, because I believe Sims deserves that. I don’t quite think he’ll get that opportunity, but all the same, there it is.