2023 Stock Watch – RB Benny Snell Jr. – 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: RB Benny Snell Jr.

Stock Value: Up

Reasoning: In spite of the fact that he had an extremely limited role in the offense during the 2022 season, Snell did much more with the snaps he did get than he had for most of his career while continuing to be a mainstay on special teams.

How could I possibly argue that Benny Snell Jr. improve his stock during the 2022 season? I’m guessing a number of you will be asking that. He only played 42 offensive snaps all season. He still managed to hit 110 snaps even in 2021 when Najee Harris never came off the field.

The simple reason that his stock is up is because he didn’t look awful when he was given opportunities. He did look awful the year before, and for much of the 2020 season as well. Snell has generally struggled throughout his career to be productive on limited opportunities.

The 2022 season was the best of that from him. He only saw offensive snaps in four games and touches in three, but he did a much better job of making them count. He rushed for 90 yards on just 20 attempts, including a 12-carry, 62-yard, one-touchdown showing against the Indianapolis Colts, scoring the game-winning touchdown. He also made a couple of plays as a receiver and as a pass protector.

All of this simply means that he showed he could be a down-line system back and special teams contributor. That might be enough for the Steelers to re-sign him on a discounted one-year veteran salary benefit contract with no signing bonus to allow him an opportunity to compete for a roster spot.

Considering there were legitimate questions about whether or not he would even make the 53-man roster once Jaylen Warren emerged during training camp, that’s not so bad. But now he’s going to be an unrestricted free agent, and we can’t say with certainty that Pittsburgh will bother with bringing him back at a position where contributors can be had for a dime a dozen.

Truth be told, his play on special teams has trended in the wrong direction—he was better at it, or at least more consistent, early in his career—and the Steelers and Danny Smith may be looking to make a change there. But he might not be a bad guy to have around on the practice squad. And there are worse options as your number three back in a pinch if nothing else materializes.

It’s not like he’s not a well-liked and enthusiastic teammate who loves the game of football. That’s always of benefit. But with a team that’s still trying to figure out how to incorporate even two running backs with Harris and Warren, the third running back isn’t going to see much action anyway. Just ask Snell, who had zero offensive snaps in 13 games.

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