With the 2016 NFL Draft now over and the bulk of the heavy lifting done with regard to the roster building process now out of the way, it is easier to begin to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand at certain positions, and what the implications might be of a variety of moves for certainly players.
And take stock is what we shall do, as every move has ramifications up and down the roster, so now we will take a look at some specific players and see how the team’s moves during the course of the offseason thus far, and more specifically since the draft, has sent their stock rising or falling.
Player: FB Roosevelt Nix
Stock Value: Even
There is no doubt that, compared to where he found himself at this time last year, Roosevelt Nix is in a much better position now. back in 2015 at around this time, if I’m not mistaken, he was still being viewed as a linebacker after playing along the defensive line in college, having already failed to make the fullback conversion a year earlier with the Falcons.
It had been a nearly entirely uphill trajectory for Nix since that point, however, up until his injury in the penultimate game of the regular season, which resulted in him being placed on the injured reserve list, meaning that he missed both of the Steelers’ playoff games.
The Kent State product kicked things off by turning heads with his power as a fullback, even if fundamentally he was quite raw. But where he really made his impact was on special teams. After making the roster that way, culminating in a punt block during the preseason, he became a fixture on the coverage units.
During the course of the 2015 season, Nix was officially credited with nine special teams tackles, including seven solo tackles, and he also forced a fumble on a kick return that the Steelers were able to recover. It was as though his work on offense as a fullback was just gravy, though he was a relatively significant contributor there as well.
Even with all that said, however, he does not find himself in a position in which he is a roster lock by any means, especially after the signing of David Johnson in free agency, who has previously served in this offense as a fullback, and has greater flexibility to play along the line of scrimmage as an in-line blocker.
Where Nix holds the particular edge is on special teams, and, frankly, that will probably be enough to earn him the roster spot, assuming that it becomes a one or the other scenario, but that is very much yet to be determined.
The Steelers do clearly like Nix—special teams coordinator Danny Smith has spoken highly of him, and they quickly offered him an exclusive rights tender in spite of his foot injury—but while he has a clear path to the 53-man roster again, I believe it is not quite as certain as most probably assume.