2023 Stock Watch – CB Levi Wallace – Stock Up

Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season is over, the team finishing above .500 but failing to make the postseason, we turn our attention to the offseason and everything that means. One thing that it means is that some stock evaluations are going to start taking on broader contexts, reflecting on a player’s development, either positively or negatively, over the course of the season. Other evaluations will reflect only one immediate event or trend. The nature of the evaluation, whether short-term or long-term, will be noted in the reasoning section below.

Player: CB Levi Wallace

Stock Value: Up

Reasoning: A 2022 free agent signing, Levi Wallace got better over the course of the regular season as he played more in their system, becoming a starter and finishing with a career-high four interceptions along with 13 passes defensed.

Going into the 2023 season today, and assuming that they do manage to re-sign Cameron Sutton, then you would probably have to assume right now that Levi Wallace is the Steelers’ other starting cornerback. That’s not where we were in training camp.

The expectation at that time was that it would be Ahkello Witherspoon as the starter, and not without reason. He played very well, the best of his entire career, in the second half of the 2021 season for the Steelers when he finally got a chance to play extended snaps.

He and Wallace signed identical two-year, $8 million contracts last year, the former to stay in Pittsburgh, the latter to come here. While there was a nominal training camp battle to start across from Sutton, Wallace being dinged in training camp never really allowed that to mature.

Witherspoon started the season and struggled significantly, even before he suffered an injury and missed a good chunk of the season. Wallace then had to step in, and once he did, he generally got better and better as the year went on.

He won’t be mistaken for a Pro Bowler, per se, but generally speaking he got the job done in coverage, finishing the season with four interceptions and 13 passes defensed, both numbers representing new high marks in his career.

His overall coverage numbers could have been better, but they favored superior performances as the games wore on, and that’s what you want to see. He is somebody that you can line up with as long as the rest of your secondary is relatively secure, particularly at safety.

Now, if Pittsburgh wanted to take a cornerback in the first couple rounds or so, I certainly wouldn’t complain about it, because that’s a position where it would be really hard to have too much quality depth. And Wallace would make a great third or fourth cornerback. As it is, he is an average starter.

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