2023 Stock Watch – OL Spencer Anderson – Purchased

With the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season over, the team finishing above .500 but failing to make the postseason, we have turned our attention to the offseason. 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: OL Spencer Anderson

Stock Value: Purchased

Reasoning: While the Steelers seemed to have done enough to address the interior offensive line during the offseason, they came away with their final selection of the draft adding another in Spencer Anderson. The seventh-round pick actually has playing experience at all five positions, and starting experience at most of them, so his versatility is his greatest asset.

If Spencer Anderson wants to make the Steelers’ 53-man roster in 2023, then he’s going to really want to show that he can seamlessly master the responsibilities of the center at the NFL level. If there is one thing Pittsburgh’s offensive line room is lacking at the moment, it’s a quality natural or natural-level reserve center.

The Steelers, for the record, do not assign Anderson to any one position. They just label him as “OL”, Offensive Lineman, after logging meaningful snaps at all five positions along the offensive line during his five seasons with the Maryland Terrapins. That includes starts at right tackle, right guard, and center.

He logged nearly 1,100 snaps at Maryland at right tackle, specifically, and didn’t play much guard until his senior year in 2022, logging 781 at right guard. He does have close to 400 snaps played at center, mostly in 2021, with five career starts there—but we were saying the same thing about Kendrick Green’s center experience.

Of course, just because a player doesn’t grow up playing center doesn’t mean he can’t develop into a more natural player there over time. Dermontti Dawson went on to have a Hall of Fame career, playing almost entirely at center, despite having never logged a single snap in a meaningful game there during his college career.

I stress the significance of Anderson’s ability to play center because that’s the most obvious way to make himself useful on this roster. The Steelers have backup guard options in Nate Herbig, who is also hypothetically center-capable, and Kevin Dotson. They have swing tackle options, including first-round pick Broderick Jones if he doesn’t win a starting job. If he doesn’t, the swing man will be the one he beats out for a job.

While center is his clearest path, it must also come with that versatility that we talk about. Every offensive line should have a true utility man who can line up anywhere, even if not equally adeptly, and get the job done. Guys like Trai Essex and Chris Hubbard. That’s Anderson’s path. It might have to begin on the practice squad. If he avoids that, it’s likely because he looked the part snapping the ball.

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