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: WR Cody White
Stock Value: Even
Reasoning: Relative to gauging pre-season expectations, it’s hard to say that 2022 offered anything surprising for Cody White among those on the outside looking in. The second-year wide receiver was a steady presence on the practice squad and a call-up away, as was largely anticipated.
It probably doesn’t hurt to have your father in the front office when you’re on the field, but considering Cody White was there first and spent time on the 53-man roster in 2021, it’s hard to make the argument that the Steelers’ hiring of dad Cody as pro scouting director influenced his job security.
The Steelers still kept seven wide receivers on the 53-man roster ahead of him (including rookie Calvin Austin III, who was placed on the Reserve/Injured List), so it’s not some remarkable achievement that he lasted the year on the practice squad.
But he is the type of player who the Steelers, and other teams, would keep around. He is a physical specimen, for starters, and is a willing and able contributor in as many areas as is reasonably possible for his position. He can play inside and outside, he is a willing blocker, and he is an asset on special teams.
Basically, he does everything that is in his power to stick around, and so he has thus far. Originally signed to the practice squad during the 2020 season, he is still around, having spent most of the 2021 season on the 53-man roster following JuJu Smith-Schuster’s injury.
Even with the turnover in the wide receiver room (in addition to Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Ray-Ray McCloud also left in free agency), it was quickly restocked with Gunner Olszewski, George Pickens, Austin, and the retentions of Steven Sims and Anthony Miller, veterans who were on the practice squad a year earlier.
This time around, Sims was on the 53-man roster thanks to his return ability, while Miller was on the Reserve/Injured List. Both of them are likely to be back in 2023 competing for roster spots, and Austin figures to be healthy. They are likely to add another receiver at some point this offseason, so White is likely to be in a very similar situation again in 2023.