After the roster has been trimmed from 75 to 53, the Steelers finally have their core group of guys ready to take the field every Sunday.
For this first edition of whose stock is up, I decided on two young players who are looking to be immediate key contributors. The first one is an UDFA from a year ago and looks to be a key piece in the offense this season.
Steelers Offensive Player Whose Stock is Rising: Eli Rogers
After consistently getting open and impressing during camp, Eli Rogers has played good enough to
win the slot receiver job for the 2016 season. This comes as a surprise to many, as the 2nd year man seemed to be an afterthought to receivers Sammie Coats and Demarcus Ayers.
The Louisville product has risen to the occasion, with the Steelers cutting Demarcus Ayers presumably to the practice squad. Sammie Coates was expected to earn the spot, but has played almost exclusively an x or z receiver.
After impressing during practice and the entire preseason, Eli Rogers has put himself in a position to be successful. He has described himself as an “illusionist“. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has also been high on Rogers:
"“The more he can work the middle, the more safeties will have to respect him and stop cheating on AB,” – Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger"
With the ability to stop defenses from solely keying in on Antonio Brown, Rogers has an opportunity to make the most of his situation and become a key contributor to the starting Offense.
Steelers Defensive Player Whose Stock is Rising: Javon Hargrave
In the third round of the 2016 NFL draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers chose a large man from a small school in Javon Hargrave. “J Wobble” as he is been nicknamed in camp, has been terrifying O-lines in camp and has made an immediate impact.
Although undersized at 6’2″ 305, Hargrave has been on the field in base and sub packages with the 1’s. He is also extremely athletic, seen dropping in pass coverage against the Philadelphia Eagles in their 2nd preseason game.
He even played ahead of Steelers defensive lineman Daniel McCullers in the final preseason game. That might be perceived as subjective, to give McCullers some rest. But the majority of Steelers nation knows he is not a key guy to keep off during one of those situations, like a Le’Veon Bell.
Hargrave is an instant upgrade, as he is well known for his pass rush and quickness. He has quick hands, a dancers feet, and an explosive first step with exceptional lateral quickness.
All these qualities along with having a high motor translated into him being selected so high although coming from an FCS program. Expect Javon Hargrave to immediately blow up plays once he is on the field and to become a household name in no time.