Steelers Stock Watch: Players Rising and Falling Through 2 Weeks of Camp
Thankfully, the Steelers haven’t been hit with any major injuries at this point, though there have been many minor ones.
Here are eight players whose stock has either risen or fallen through the first two weeks of training camp. This list mainly consists of players who are fighting for a spot on the roster—not just players who are performing well in camp.
Rising: David Paulson
There is a chance that tight end Heath Miller will not be ready to go for the season opener. This would leave Matt Spaeth, David Paulson and David Johnson if the team chooses to keep an extra tight end.
If it was not for Paulson's impressive display at camp, Johnson would have gotten my vote as a tight end to put stock in.
According to Will Graves of The Associated Press, Paulson has put “good weight” in his second season in an attempt to become a more capable blocker.
Paulson has the potential to become a very good receiving threat for the Steelers this season and the better blocker he becomes, the more time he will get on the field.
Falling: DeMarcus Van Dyke
Considering the injury bug has been running rampant within the cornerback position, there may be a recurring theme in this list.
DeMarcus Van Dyke was already thought to be on the outside looking in when camp started because of the depth the Steelers had at the position. Then Van Dyke suffered a hamstring injury within the first few days of camp and has been sidelined ever since.
Van Dyke probably did not have a good shot of making the team when healthy, now he would have to bounce back from this injury immediately and push himself harder than ever to get on that roster.
The sad thing is, as I eluded to in this slide, that the cornerback position has been decimated by injuries so far, which would have given Van Dyke a big opportunity to earn a spot.
Rising: Marshall McFadden
It was a surprise when linebacker Marshall McFadden didn’t make the team last year after impressing in the preseason and he will be hard to cut this year as well.
According to Mike Prisuta of DVE Radio via Steelers Depot, he was playing at first team linebacker because of the various injuries affecting other players.
McFadden has done so well at this point in camp that he even got compared to James Harrison in a tweet by Steelers Digest’s Bob Labriola. On July 29th Labriola sad that McFadden "Looks like James Harrison, hits like Harrison, nasty like Harrison."
Right now there is huge competition at backup inside linebacker between McFadden, Vince Williams, Brian Rolle and Stevenson Sylvester. For me, McFadden is in the lead.
Falling: Alameda Ta’amu
Nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu started training camp on the PUP list because of a hamstring injury and was just activated as of Aug. 5 via Neal Coolong of Behind the Steel Curtain.
Ta’amu has missed the first week of camp and he will have to try and catch up to Hebron Fangupo for the backup nose tackle spot.
The Steelers have no depth at that NT position, even when they have Al Woods run with the second team during mini camps.
It is still early on in camp but as of right now, Ta’amu is probably fourth on the depth chart behind Steve McLendon, Fangupo and Woods.
Rising: Josh Victorian
Cornerback Josh Victorian got some valuable playing time last season due to injuries in the Steelers secondary and going into this year I thought he had an outside shot to make the team.
As I have mentioned early in this article, the Steelers cornerback position has been hit hard with injuries and Cortez Allen, Terry Hawthorne, DeMarcus Van Dyke and Curtis Brown are all out now.
The only good thing about early camp injuries is that it gives players like Victorian an opportunity to earn a roster spot.
Though the team does have Robert Golden and Shamarko Thomas who could play in the slot if needed, the team could elect to keep an extra body at the positions.
Falling: Terry Hawthorne
Another cornerback, Terry Hawthorne needed offseason surgery on his knee, but was regardless ready to start training camp. After two days of practice, the Steelers fifth-round pick has not been on the field.
Hawthorne was as close to a lock for the final roster as you can be since being drafted, but if he can’t get on the field the team will have no choice but to cut him.
They could just keep him on the roster like they have done in the past with players like Adrian Robinson—they could also try and sneak him on the practice squad.
If Hawthorne can get healthy I have him making the roster no problem, but let’s just hope he comes back as soon as possible.
Rising: Stevenson Sylvester
Linebacker Stevenson Sylvester may not have shown much in his first three years with the Steelers but he does have one thing over his competition: experience in the system.
Even if that experience is only being on the sideline and watching film, Sylvester has had the opportunity to fully grasp the defense.
Honestly, going into camp I did not think Sylvester had any shot at making the roster. The only reason I think he does now is because of an interview between Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler and 970 ESPN Radio's David Todd via Steeler Depot.
Butler said Sylvester has flexibility at his position, he also mentioned how the team views the fourth year linebacker as the top backup on the inside.
I don’t know if I really believe that Sylvester has shown that much improvement to get that kind of praise, but he obviously is going to be given every chance to earn his spot on the roster.
Falling: Curtis Brown
Now for the last cornerback on the list: Curtis Brown.
In his first two seasons he has not shown anything more than being a good special teams player. This has the possibility of being a make-or-break camp for the third year corner.
I’m not saying I definitely see him being cut because I don’t. In fact, I would be surprised and disappointed if he was. That would mean he really showed no development and no potential for growth with the team.
Part of Brown's problem is the competition between him and Josh Victorian, Terry Hawthorne, DeMarcus Van Dyke and Isaiah Green.
With injuries to Hawthorne and Van Dyke there was the chance that Brown could come out strong and solidify his standing with the team early. Unfortunately, Brown has apparently gone down with an ankle injury as he was seen on crutches according to James Wexell of Steelers Digest via Twitter.
It is still early on in camp and if the injury is minor this will all be a moot point. But if it lingers, at least this was an opportunity to get extra reps in camp.