The 2020 Steelers from A to Z: Zach Banner

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh SteelersPhoto by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Breaking down every player one-by-one alphabetically on the Steelers current 90-man roster

We are on to part 5 of our 90-part series— assuming the roster does not change before we are complete— which will break down each player of the Steelers current 90-man roster in alphabetical order. This series will encompass many aspects of each players game and their current role with the team. At the end, I’ll give some projected stats as well as their chances to make the 53-man roster.

Today we’re featuring the most eligible tackle in the NFL:

Zach Banner

Position: OT
Height: 6’ 8”
Weight: 360 lbs
College: Southern California
Draft: 4th round, 137 overall in 2017 (Indianapolis)


2019 stats

14 Games played
1 Start


Contract remaining

Expires in 2020

$1,750,000 salary cap number (0.87% of total cap)
$0 dead money
$1,750,000 cap savings if cut


Likelihood of making the roster

Lock. Banner isn’t going anywhere, in fact he’s going to be entrenched in one of the more interesting position battles of training camp. Not to mention Banner is one of the most beloved members on the Steelers roster, public outcry would be far-reaching if he were cut. Whether he’s the starting tackle or continues at swing tackle I fully believe Banner will be a member of the Steelers 2020 roster.


2020 projection

With the additions of guards Stefen Wisniewski and Kevin Dotson, it feels less likely Matt Feiler will slide into the guard spot which, in-turn, could open up a spot for Banner to start. The most likely scenario appears to be Wisniewski sliding around the interior line depending on injury, Chukwuma Okorafor being the primary tackle back-up and Banner playing the slide tackle.


Projected stats:

14 games played
2 starts
1 target
1 reception
35 yards (Completely wide open and untouched)


Summary

Zach Banner will hear cheers ring out not only when he’s being announced as eligible on the field, but when Ben Roethlisberger dumps off a pass to him in the flat and then rumbles for a big gain. I can’t be the only one who thinks this is an inevitably! Banner will also continue his growth as an NFL player, whether or not he gets the opportunity to start for the Steelers in 2020, he will get the opportunity in 2021 either in Pittsburgh or elsewhere.


Previously Highlighted

Ola Adeniyi
Marcus Allen
Tyson Alualu
Trajan Bandy

Mason Rudolph is helpless to restore his reputation

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland BrownsPhoto by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Steelers reserve quarterback wants to prove his worth to those questioning his talent and character, but a shadow will continue to linger

Here’s a question for the BTSC community: How do you prove something that never happened actually never happened? It is impossible to prove, or disprove for that matter, any action which never transpired. Therein lies the problem.

If no evidence is required to make an accusation, and there is no consequences for making a false accusation, then what is keeping any individual from utilizing a false claim for their own benefit or to save their own hide? Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph has been impacted by this very scenario.

Let me offer a little back story to clarify the statement. I was enjoying a little playful banter with some friends and acquaintances on social media the other day. As it is prone to do, the conversation turned into some good-natured ribbing concerning our favorite NFL teams. Fun for all, till the tone of the discussion took a sudden turn. I fully accept responsibility for my part in the debacle. I broke my own rule. I was joking around with the husband of an old friend of mine, a individual I don’t know personally, who happens to be a Ravens fan.

He made some disparaging comments about the city of Pittsburgh and the Steelers fanbase. He then took offence when I said a raven was basically a flying rat, which made it the perfect mascot for the city of Baltimore and their vermin problem. He resorted to childish name calling, and making accusations about former and current Steelers players. Nary a conviction in any of incidents he mentioned, but that didn’t seem to matter in his mind. Needless to say, I had no reason to suffer that foolishness and the conversation ended. I am a grown man and I will stick to adult conversations.

That whole situation got me thinking about Mason Rudolph. Last season Rudolph was involved in the most dramatic incident of the NFL season, “The Helmet Swing heard around the World”. It was one of the most shocking displays of violence ever perpetrated on a NFL field, in front of a national television audience no less.

The incident, along with the national outrage, suspensions, and fines, has been well documented. I would like to focus for a moment on the accusation made by Browns DE Myles Garrett claiming a racial slur allegedly made by Rudolph instigated the whole incident. Without the benefit of any evidence, Rudolph is adamant it never happened, both parties are left to be found guilty, or not guilty, in the court of public opinion.

This scenario works out far better for Garrett than it does Rudolph. Garrett’s despicable actions were obvious and not in question. The accusation of a racial slur undoubtedly provided Garrett with some semblance of justification in the minds of some fans. Mission accomplished.

For Rudolph, the accusation is far more damaging. Without an avenue to prove his innocence, he is forever labeled a racist in the minds of so many. It seems to make perfect sense actually, why else would a star player lose all self control and try to use a helmet as a deadly weapon? Rudolph is left powerless to defend himself against the disparaging remark concerning his character.

These kind of unsubstantiated accusations affect a player’s reputation and earning potential. If you are a general manager or head coach, do you want to entrust your team’s success, and possibly your own career, in the hands of an accused racist? What if you are looking for an advertising spokesperson for your business or product? I don’t know about you, but I would simply pass on any potential drama or negative publicity.

One thing I learned from the otherwise useless conversation mentioned earlier is this article: Guilty or not, the damage has been done. It is truly a shame.

A way-too-early look at the 2021 NFL Draft: Quarterbacks

Butler v North Dakota StatePhoto by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

Which signal-callers could be donning the black and gold next year? Let’s look at the top quarterbacks Steeler fans should be watching this college football season.

I know what you’re probably thinking right now.

A 2021 draft primer? The season hasn’t even started yet!

Admittedly, “way too early” draft predictions are exactly what they’re titled: Way too early— and as a result, are very rarely, or perhaps never, accurate at all.

In this draft primer series, we won’t be mocking players to any teams, but rather looking at the top players at each position who could get drafted by the Steelers with their first few picks in 2021. Prospects such as Trevor Lawrence, Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Fields, and Penei Sewell, who are all expected to be gone long before where the Steelers are projected to pick in the first round, will not be included.

The goal? Not to make any “hot take” predictions, but rather to look at some players that Steelers fans might want to watch a little closer than usual this college season.

Starting off the series will be the hardest position to evaluate: quarterbacks. They are ranked in no particular order.


Trey Lance, QB #5, North Dakota State

2019 stats: 2,786 passing yards, 28 passing touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 1,100 rushing yards, 14 rushing touchdowns.

Height/Weight: 6’3”, 221 lbs.

Lance might be the biggest rising prospect since the end of the 2020 draft. The FCS superstar recorded incredible numbers his redshirt freshman year at North Dakota State, leading his team to a 16-0 season and the FCS championship. The dual-threat passer has shown just about everything you could want in a quarterback: accuracy, arm strength, athleticism, and the ability to take care of the ball.

The only knocks on Lance are his competition, as the FCS is a far-cry from the NFL level, and his lack of experience as a starter entering this season. If he can put up similar numbers this year as a redshirt sophomore, it shouldn’t effect his NFL stock at all.

Lance will have massive expectations on his shoulders this year, and if he’s consistent, especially against a much larger school in Oregon, he may be long gone before the Steelers pick. NDSU has had a history of putting out NFL quarterbacks, most recently Carson Wentz and Easton Stick.

The 2021 season will be important for Lance to prove he is not a one-trick pony. A big season in the national spotlight could cement him in the first round with a legitimate chance at being a top-5 prospect.

Some notable articles about Trey Lance:

“Tanking for TREY”? Could Trey Lance be the first overall pick in 2021?NFL Draft Diamonds

2021 NFL Draft Prospect: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State University – NFL Draft Diamonds

Bucky Brooks: Trey Lance in Mix with Trevor Lawrence for No. 1 in 2021 NFL Draft – Bleacher Report

NDSU quarterback Trey Lance has first-round upside in 2021 – Pro Football Network


Jamie Newman, QB #12, Georgia

2019 stats: 2,868 passing yards, 26 passing touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 574 rushing yards, 6 rushing touchdowns.

Height/Weight: 6’4”, 230 lbs.

Another dual-threat quarterback with an opportunity to make the first round in 2021. Jamie Newman transferred from Wake Forest to Georgia for his final year of eligibility as Jake Fromm’s succesor.

The Draft Network describes Newman as being “built like a tank”, and he runs like one, too. Newman runs well and hard, putting up 574 rushing yards during his last season at Wake Forest, and drawing some Cam Newton comparisons due to his tough running style.

As a passer, Newman has a good arm and a fast release, with excellent pocket awareness. He doesn’t have the strongest arm you’ll ever see, but his deep ball is definitely strength.

Similarly to Trey Lance, we’ll need to see more of Jamie Newman before we can know where he’ll go in the draft. At Georgia, Newman will be surrounded by much better talent, but will also be playing on a bigger stage against better defenses. It will also be interesting to see how Newman handles the scheme change from Wake Forest to Georgia.

Newman has the physical tools to excel at Georgia and beyond, but his level of play after the change of scenery will be indicative of his future in the NFL. Newman is considered by many to be one of the top quarterbacks in this year’s class, but still has a lot to prove.

Some notable articles about Jamie Newman:

Jamie Newman Draft Profile – The Draft Network

QB expert calls Jamie Newman a blend of Jalen Hurts, Cam Newton – 247 Sports

Why the 2020 NFL Draft’s best-kept quarterback secret has first-round potential – CBS Sports


Kellen Mond, QB #11, Texas A&M

2019 stats: 2,897 passing yards, 20 passing touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 500 rushing yards, 8 rushing touchdowns.

Height/Weight: 6’3”, 217 lbs.

Mond is a good quarterback one play, and a terrible one the next. If consistency wasn’t such an issue, his name could be right next to those near the top of this year’s class. Mond’s flashes of brilliance include his excellent arm strength an athletic ability, but his accuracy remains a major question. He is aggressive to a fault at times as well, which can lead to some ill-advised throws.

As a runner, Mond certainly has the ability, and while his team didn’t incorporate many designed QB runs last year, he was still able to use his athleticism to save some broken plays.

Mond suffered what some considered to be down year in 2019, and wisely sat out the 2020 draft in hopes of raising his stock this year. If Mond can match his skill with his talent, he will be a dangerous quarterback to play against this season, and might have a successful NFL career.

Mond is currently in the second and third round conversation, but a big season would easily push him into the first round.

Some notable articles about Kellen Mond:

Is Kellen Mond a 1st Round Quarterback? – Pro Football Draft

2020 A&M spring preview: QB position is almost all about Mond – 247 Sports

Kellen Mond Draft Profile – The Draft Network

Can Sam Ehlinger and Kellen Mond be backup plans for Justin Fields next year? – Pro Football Network


Sam Ehlinger, QB #11, Texas

2019 stats: 3,663 passing yards, 32 passing touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 663 rushing yards, 7 rushing touchdowns.

Height/Weight: 6’3”, 230 lbs.

Ehlinger has quietly put together quite the career at Texas, finishing 2019 with some impressive numbers. He’s stayed rather underrated due to Texas’ moderate success, but has every chance this season to become one of the top passers in all of college football.

Ehlinger is continuing to develop as a passer, with a solid skillset and an NFL-caliber arm. He is known for his toughness and as being a good teammate, but that doesn’t mean much if he can’t succeed at the other aspects of the game. Like most college quarterbacks, he’ll have to work on his accuracy and anticipation to succeed on the next level.

Ehlinger’s mobility is one of his strengths, as he has enjoyed success as a runner and scrambler. He is a surprisingly powerful runner as well.

Ehlinger might be one of the most underrated quarterbacks to enter the draft this year. More exciting prospects like Jamie Newman have stolen much of the quarterback spotlight, but Ehlinger has remained productive and consistent during his time at Texas.

Much like Kellen Mond, Ehlinger decided to return to school and forgo the 2020 NFL Draft for an attempt at raising his draft stock. If Ehlinger continues to improve, he has a chance at sneaking into the first round this year, especially if his team can progress with him.

Some notable articles about Sam Ehlinger:

Can Sam Ehlinger and Kellen Mond be backup plans for Justin Fields next year? – Pro Football Network

Sam Ehlinger Draft Profile – The Draft Network

What the experts are saying about Sam Ehlinger in the NFL Draft – Longhorns Wire


Brock Purdy, QB #15, Iowa State

2019 stats: 3,982 passing yards, 27 passing touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 249 rushing yards, 8 rushing touchdowns.

Height/Weight: 6’1”, 210 lbs.

Athleticism is a common theme in this year’s class, and Purdy is no different. The Iowa State passer has put together a great career so far in college, and is considered to be a fringe first-round prospect entering what could be his final year. Thanks to his accuracy and athleticism combination, Purdy nearly put up four thousand passing yards last year, a difficult task for even the best of college passers.

Despite being an above-average athlete, Purdy lacks ideal NFL arm strength. However, he has enough power on his throws to be a competent NFL quarterback. Despite being undersized, Purdy has shown enough football IQ and awareness to make up for his lack of height.

Purdy still needs to prove himself in big moments— especially coming from a lesser known school in Iowa State. A Pro Football Network article highlighted some flaws in Purdy’s consistency, especially in important, close games.

Brock Purdy has the upside to be a more athletic version of Drew Brees— an accurate-yet-undersized quarterback with enough smarts to overcome arm strength limitations. Purdy is firmly in the first/early second round conversation right now for the 2021 draft, and his stock should only go up from here.

Some notable articles about Brock Purdy:

NFL mock draft: Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy a first-round pick in 2021 NFL draft? – AZ Central

2021 NFL Draft: Brock Purdy is a dark-horse top prospect – Pro Football Network

What will set Brock Purdy apart from everyone else who’s played quarterback at Iowa State? – Des Moines Register


Some other names to look out for this season include Mississippi State’s K.J. Costello, Minnesota’s Tanner Morgan, Florida’s Kyle Trask, and Nebraska’s Adrian Martinez.

Obviously, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields are currently the two best quarterbacks in their class, and don’t look to be coming down any time soon. They will likely not be around by the time the Steelers expect to pick, but are still great prospects to study and watch.


So, will quarterback even be a factor in the Steelers’ draft plans after this season?

The short answer? We won’t know until then.

How well Ben Roethlisberger plays in 2020, combined with the possibility he could retire at the end of the season, always makes quarterback a possibility for the team.

The Steelers have shown confidence in Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges as their #2 and #3 options, but it remains to be seen if they believe in Rudolph as a full-time starter post-Big Ben, or would be more interested in drafting a successor.

With so many variables set to change between now and the actual draft, all of the names mentioned in this article and more, have a chance at being a future selection for Pittsburgh Steelers.

If a quarterback is available at the right value, in the right slot in, there’s a good chance the Steelers will pull the trigger.

Let’s just hope that pick is at #32.

The NFL’s desire to play in full stadiums this fall is a fantasy

Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh SteelersPhoto by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Do you think it’s a good idea for the NFL to even be thinking about playing its games in stadiums full of fans this fall? With other leagues forging ahead with plans to play without fans amid the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, it just doesn’t make sense for the NFL to even be considering it.

Things may be getting back to normal amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has had team sports on the Injured Reserve list since mid-March. When I say “normal,” I mean the new normal, of course. Take the NHL, a league that officially announced the end of its 2019/2020 regular season on Tuesday, a decision that paves the way for an agreed-upon 24-team Stanley Cup playoff tournament that is supposed to begin some time this summer.

That’s if the NHL deems such a tournament safe for all involved, obviously.

If hockey does resume, it will do so in designated hub cities in arenas without fans. When it comes to the no fans part of the equation, the NBA and MLB are right in-step with that idea, even if those two leagues haven’t officially worked out final plans to resume and start, respectively.

Then there’s the NFL, a league that is apparently still hopeful for stadiums full of fans when the regular season kicks off in about three and a half months.

“We are planning to have full stadiums until the medical community tells us otherwise,” said Troy Vincent while appearing on the Brian Mitchell Show on Friday in a quote courtesy of NBCSports.com. “Now remember when we’re talking— we’re talking about September, August, September,” Vincent continued. “So there’s a lot that can happen here. So we’re planning on full stadiums.”

In fairness to Vincent, the NFL’s Head of Football Operations, he did throw in a caveat in the event that the pandemic continues to dominate in time of possession: “We also know that we have to plan for half stadiums. Three-quarters. So we’re planning for all of these different scenarios. But first and foremost, we’re making every effort, working with the medical community, if we can have those stadiums with all people until they tell us otherwise when that time comes, that’s our plan. That’s our plan of action.”

I get it, the NFL has to be prepared for everything, and given that we’re still over three months away from seeing real football in action, maybe it’s a bit premature to write off the notion of full stadiums in September.

Also, there’s the matter of revenue and how much every NFL team stands to lose while playing games inside stadiums devoid of fans. For instance, the Steelers could lose roughly $156 million in total stadium revenue in 2020, according to Forbes. As for the league as a whole? About $5.5 billion.

That’s a lot of money, but is it enough to bring the league to its knees?

If playing games without fans isn’t enough to destroy the NHL— of the four major professional leagues in the United States, that’s the one that can least afford it— the NFL, the league with the mega-TV contract, will survive. Will a loss of revenue affect the players and how much they’ll be paid? In a salary cap league, one where the players get a percentage of the revenue— 47 percent in 2020— yes.

But, again, it’s not the end of the world.

What could cripple the NFL is another massive outbreak of the Coronavirus that is traced back to a stadium full of football fans. In terms of public perception, forget Spy-gate, forget the anthem controversy, this could be the PR hit which brings the league to its knees once and for all.

The most realistic plan the league should be aiming for is to play its games in stadiums which are a third-to-half full. How would it look if the NHL, NBA and MLB spent their summers playing in front of nobody, and then the NFL opened up its season with thousands of fans sitting shoulder to shoulder in stadiums all across the land?

That was a rhetorical question, because it would look bad.

If you would have asked me in March, when the pandemic first swept through the country, if we’d have stadiums full of football fans by September, I would have said yes. But now, knowing all that we do? It just doesn’t seem like a good idea.

At least the Steelers are preparing for the new normal, as the team held back 50 percent of its available single-game tickets when they went on sale last Friday.

Just my opinion, but that should be how all 32 teams operate. It’s better than not operating at all— something that could ultimately happen if the NFL gets a little too confident and comfortable over the next few months.

Podcast: The Glory of being a Steelers Fan

In the latest episode of “The Steelers Preview” show, we break down all the news you need to know surrounding the Black-and-Gold from the week that was and celebrate Jeff Hartman’s final show at BTSC.

For fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers there is a huge honor and a genuine sense of pride rooting for the Black-and-Gold. There are so many great moments over the course of the last 50 years, Join Dave Schofield, Bryan Anthony Davis and Jeff Hartman in his final BTSC podcast as they celebrate Steelers fanhood. Take a look at the rundown for the latest episode of the BTSC podcast The Steelers Preview. On this show Jeff, Dave and BAD break down all things Steelers.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • The Glory of being a Steelers fan.
  • Memorable moments in the five-year BTSC career of Jeff Hartman
  • Steelers Trivia
  • Steelers Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

Black and Gold Links: The NFL tables discussion on alternative to the onside kick

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles ChargersJake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers

It has been a one-of-a-kind offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020. Unable to attend most player pro days and participating in the NFL’s first virtual draft, the Steelers keep pushing forward toward a return to football activities. Just because the Steelers are unable to hold their typical OTA’s doesn’t mean we stop providing you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over throughout the offseason!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at the NFL tabling an alternative to the onside kick which would allow the team to run one offensive play.

Let’s get to the news:

  • Facing a “4th &15” in place of an onside kick fails again

Not enough support for 4th-and-15 rule

By: Bob Labriola, Steelers.com

In Steelers President Art Rooney II’s eyes, what has come to be known as the fourth-and-15 rule was too much of a gimmick, the chance for making permanent the rule allowing pass interference to be challenged was zero, and the idea of incentivizing the Rooney Rule needs more thought.

During today’s virtual NFL Owners Meeting, there were four proposals approved, two others were tabled, and the rule allowing offensive and defensive pass interference penalties (both called and uncalled) to be challenged via instant replay review officially was put out of its misery.

“We had six items we could have voted on, and we wound up approving four of them and tabling two of them,” said Rooney. “We approved the defenseless player rule for returners. We approved the rule on limiting the pre-snap fouls that people started to play with last year (to run time off the clock). We approved the item concerning extra points being replayable. We also approved the bylaw proposal that increases the number of players who can be designated to return (from the injured reserve list) from two to three. Those were the ones we approved. There’s another designated to return proposal that got tabled, and then the one that got the most discussion was the onside kick alternative, the fourth-and-15 rule, and that also got tabled.”

Rooney admitted that there is interest in trying to do something to allow an avenue for a team that’s trailing late in a game to have a realistic chance to mount a comeback, but he doubted anything would happen in time for the 2020 season.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)


  • The payment deadline for season ticket holders is almost here

Steelers willing to work with season ticket holders about renewal process

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

With the deadline to renew season tickets approaching, the Pittsburgh Steelers are working with ticket holders who are cautious about attending games because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The deadline to renew season tickets is June 1. It was pushed back from an original May 1 deadline because of concerns about the outbreak.

“We will continue to work with our fans to review our policies to make sure we provide a fan-friendly and fair policy,” Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said. “We still encourage our fans to contact our ticket office directly so we can understand any concerns they may have as it relates to the 2020 season.”

The Steelers plan to adhere to the June 1 deadline, although the situation remains fluid while Pennsylvania goes through the three-tiered approach to reopening. Allegheny County remains in the yellow phase.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)


  • Steelers’ players give their thoughts on playing games in empty stadiums

Steelers weigh in on potentially playing games with no fans

By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

True to his Type-A, hyper-analytical public persona, Mike Tomlin’s first reaction to the concept of playing games without fans was void of emotion.

“The thing that I’m interested in is how it changes the game, maybe mechanically, in some ways,” Tomlin said earlier this week while speaking as a guest on John Calipari’s video podcast.

Tomlin recognizes some of the fundamental aspects of NFL play will be altered if teams are competing in empty stadiums because of concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

In an environment lacking ambient noise, will opponents be able to overhear a play call in his huddle?

Or discussions between coaches on the sidelines?

Will the method for audibles at the line of scrimmage need to change, if the defense (and the entire coaching staff) can hear the quarterback?

But even Tomlin, moments later, acknowledged the more intangible effect that playing in front of nothing but empty seats can have on a team and on a game.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)


  • BTSC articles you may have missed

Breaking down he Steelers’ performance at safety to begin the 2019 season

The Steelers most underrated player going into 2020

The honorable mentions of the most prolific numbers worn by the Steelers

A look at the Steelers 2021 salary cap

How will the Steelers be represented in the NFL’s Top 100 Players?


  • Social Media Madness

According to PFF, Steven Nelson is the Steelers’ most underrated player

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland BrownsPhoto by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Pro Football Focus listed the most underrated players for all 32 NFL teams

Pro Football Focus released its list of the most underrated players on each NFL team yesterday.

For the Steelers PFF chose Steven Nelson. They had this to say about him:

By the numbers, Nelson was one of the league’s best cornerbacks last season. Playing opposite Joe Haden, his 80.5 overall grade ranked sixth among all cornerbacks in 2019, and he allowed just 33 receptions on over 500 coverage snaps all year. Another season with numbers like that and more people are going to start taking notice.

You would be hard pressed to find a Steelers’ fan who didn’t notice Steven Nelson locking down receivers for the Steelers last season. In the year the Steelers added Minkah Fitzpatrick and Devin Bush, he was definitely overshadowed in the amount of attention his play received.

I can’t complain about the selection, with the number of players drawing attention on the Steelers defense with Fitzpatrick, T.J. Watt, Joe Haden with his interceptions, Devin Bush and the breakout of Bud Dupree it seems like Steven Nelson excelled in relative obscurity as another great and affordable free agent acquisition by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Around the AFC North, PFF chose Cleveland’s Olivier Vernon, acquired as part of the Odell Beckham Jr. trade, Baltimore’s Gus Edwards and Carlos Dunlap from Cincinnati. Former Steelers’ DT Steve McLendon made the list for the NY Jets.

For the complete list of all NFL teams, click HERE.

The 2020 Steelers from A to Z: Trajan Bandy

Central Michigan v MiamiPhoto by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Breaking down every player one-by-one alphabetically on the Steelers current 90-man roster

Part four of our 90-part series— yes, 90 parts, assuming the roster does not change before we are complete— will break down each player of the Steelers current 90-man roster in alphabetical order. This series will encompass many aspects of each players game and their current role with the team. At the end, I’ll give some projected stats as well as their chances to make the 53-man roster.

Next up is our first player from the 2020 UDFA class:

Trajan Bandy

Position: CB
Height: 5’ 9”
Weight: 186 lbs
College: Miami
Draft: Undrafted in 2020


2019 stats (w/ Miami)

28 Tackles
8 Passes defended
3 Sacks
1 Forced Fumble
0 Interceptions


Contract remaining

Expires in 2022

$613,000 salary cap number (0.3% of total cap)
$9,000 dead money
$604,000 cap savings if cut pre-June 1
$610,000 cap savings if cut post June 1


Likelihood of making the roster

Surprisingly possible. Making the 53-man roster as a UDFA is supposed to be nearly impossible, but Bandy finds himself in a prime position to win himself a job. There is space available on the Steelers current cornerback depth chart, and if Bandy can prove to be a viable gunner on special teams, he could be in the line up Week 1. Take a look at the names above Bandy on the CB depth chart:
Joe Haden
Steven Nelson
Mike Hilton
Cameron Sutton
Justin Layne
Breon Borders

Keep in mind the Steelers dressed 6 corners opening day vs New England a year ago. So if these are the names ahead of him he would only have to beat out journeyman Breon Borders for a roster spot. There Is another hypothetical in which Cam Sutton slides into the primary safety back up spot, in which case Bandy could make the team just based on numbers.


2020 projection

If Bandy makes this roster out of camp, I don’t see any situation where he would be demoted back to the practice squad. Look for the Miami stand-out to feature quite heavily on special teams and appear in every game.


Projected stats:

16 games played
6 Tackles


Summary

Trajan Bandy is the most likely member of the UDFA’s to make the opening day roster. While his impact will be limited to special teams it will be interesting what he can provide in the future. Could he be vying for playing time against Justin Layne and Cam Sutton in training camp? Possibly. But for now I think Bandy is going to be one of the ‘surprise’ members of the final roster


Previously Highlighted

Ola Adeniyi
Marcus Allen
Tyson Alualu

Numero Uni: The 25 most prolific Steelers jersey numbers of all time, Honorable Mention

Seattle Seahawks v Pittsburgh SteelersPhoto by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Steelers have had a plethora of great players representing specific numbers over the years.

Identity in sports is paramount to a players success. There are players that will always be synonymous with their numbers. In Pittsburgh, one doesn’t really have to say the given names of Roberto Clemente, Terry Bradshaw or Mario Lemieux. It’s merely No. 21, No. 12 and No. 66. Those numbers are simply iconic.

As far as the Steelers go, there are only two numbers that have ever been retired— Ernie Stautner’s No. 70 and Joe Greene’s No. 75. Although never officially retired, nobody has worn the No. 12 made famous by Bradshaw since his 1984 retirement, nor have the digits of No. 32, No. 52 and No. 58 been handed out since Franco Harris, Jack Lambert and Mike Webster all left the Steel City in the 1980s. Recent Steelers legends such as Jerome Bettis (No. 36), Hines Ward (No. 86) and Troy Polamalu (No. 43) were the last to sport their specific numbers since their retirements. Some Hall of Famers were the second-to-last or third-to-last Steelers to don their particular digits. Jack Ham’s No. 59 was worn by LB Todd Seabaugh in 1984. Scott Shields (26 games in 1999/2000) and Ronald Stanley (1 game in 2006) were given Mel Blount’s No. 47 to wear, but it hasn’t been issued since. Dermontti Dawson made No. 63 famous from (1988-2000) and only L.T. Walton was issued it (2019), but he didn’t see game action.

When there is only one player, like a lot mentioned above, to make a number famous there are some numbers that have boasted by a host of players. One BTSC author has wondered aloud what is the most accomplished number in Steelers’ history. Through player and jersey value rankings found in Pro Football Reference, we have ranked the most successful numbers in Steelers history worn by various players. You won’t see numbers like 12, 58, 75, 32, 52 and most of the ones listed above in the grouping. This would be basically ranking an individual player over the other and not the cumulative effort. In today’s submission, we take a look at those ranked just out of the top 25— the Honorable Mentions. Enjoy.


Honorable Mention

No. 51

Most Notable: James Farrior 2002-2011, Carlos Emmons 1996-1999. Loren Toews 1973-1983 (pictured below), Buzz Nutter 1961-1964

Current Wearer: Tuzar Skipper (2019 to Present)

Steelers Loren ToewsPhoto by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Linebackers James Farrior and Loren Toews give this number the most juice and the distinction of six Super Bowl championships in seven attempts. Farrior played for ten years in black-and-gold after wearing No. 58 with the Jets. The First Team All Pro in 2004 was one of the hearts of the Steelers defense in Super Bowl XL, XLIII and XLV. Toews played eleven seasons in Pittsburgh and appeared in four Super Bowls. The Cal Bear played in 57 straight games until his retirement after the 1983 season.


No. 93

Most Notable: Jason Worilds 2011-2014, Nick Eason 2007-2010, James Harrison 2002, Joel Steed 1992-1999, Keith Willis 1982-1991 (pictured below)

Current Wearer: Daniel McCullers (2016 to Present)

Steelers Keith WillisPhoto by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Yes, Deebo wore this number initially with the Steelers, but he made the one digit lower famous. The most accomplished Steelers to wear this number would be Joel Steed and Keith Willis. Steed, an eight-year load of a nose tackle from Colorado, earned a Pro Bowl bid in 1997. Willis may be one of the most unheralded Steelers of all time. He never made the Pro Bowl or was named All Pro, but he had seasons of 14 and 12 sacks in 1983 and 1986 respectively. His 59 total sacks land Willis as fourth all-time in the Steel City.


No. 27

Most Notable: Brent Alexander 2000-2003, Willie Williams 1993-1996 and 2004-2005 (pictured below), Thomas Everett 1987-1991, Greg Hawthorne 1979-1983, Glen Edwards 1971-1977, Dick Haley 1961-1964

Current Wearer: Marcus Allen (2018 to Present)

Steelers Willie WilliamsPhoto by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

There’s been a host of good players to wear the two and the seven. The hard hitting Thomas Everett came in and picked up where Donnie Shell left off, but didn’t stay too long. Willie Williams had two stints with the Steelers. His subbing for Rod Woodson in a Super Bowl year of 1995 was huge as he picked-off seven passes that season. Brent Alexander was a talented defensive back as well. But best among them, and the longest tenured, was Glen Edwards. Edwards played seven years for the Steelers and was very much a force at free safety during two Super Bowl wins. This No. 27 had 25 interceptions (tied 11th all-time in team history), went to two Pro Bowls and was the team’s MVP in 1974.


No. 33

Most Notable: Isaac Redman 2010-2013, Richard Huntley 1998-2000, Byron “Bam” Morris 1994-1995, Merril Hoge 1987-1993 (pictured below), Harvey Clayton 1983-1986, John “Frenchy” Fuqua 1970-1976

Current Wearer: Trey Edmunds (2018 to Present)

Pittsburgh Steelers vs San Diego ChargersPhoto by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

A lot of running backs sported this digital identity over the years, with the most notable being Frenchy Fuqua and Merril Hoge. Fuqua held the single-game rushing record of 218 yards in a 1970 game until Willie Parker broke it in 2006. He was also a key factor in the greatest play of all-time with the Immaculate Reception intended for him. “The French Count” is also one of the flashiest Steelers of all time. Meanwhile. Hoge had one of the greatest playoff performances with 220 yards, two scores and 6.7 yards per carry over two games for the Cinderella story of 1989.


Check back soon for the 25th-placed jersey in BTSC’s countdown of the best jersey number stable in Steelers’ history.

The way-too-early Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 salary cap breakdown

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh SteelersKevin Colbert on the sidelines in 2019 | Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Although it’s ultimately next year’s problem, contracts signed now will also affect the 2021 salary cap situation

In a previous article I talked about where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand regarding their 2020 salary cap and the work the team still has to do to stay cap compliant before the start of the 2020 season. Just for a fun project, I looked at how the team is sitting regarding the 2021 salary cap.

The first number Steelers fans notice when looking at the team’s page at Over the Cap, is the team being $28 million under the cap. That is not too bad, is it? If the team had 53 players under contract, that would be a fantastic number. Sadly, the team has 38 players under contract. It does not get a lot better when you look at those players. So before we delve into the actual facts and figures of the 2021 cap, let’s take a quick peek at the roster.

Be sure to catch a more detailed breakdown in the following video.

Nine current starters are not signed in 2021. (This includes punter and the nose tackle position.)

Ten players are undrafted rookie free agents who were signed after the 2020 draft.

The 2020 draft class is not yet included.

Six of the players are backups who have not logged meaningful playing time.


What is not included in the 2021 cap?

Two draft classes:

  • 2020 class 6 players: $4.8 million
  • 2021 class +/-7 players: $6.5 million (guesstimate)

52nd and 53rd players: $1.4 million

Practice squad: $1.9 million

Total expenditures: $14.6 million

I did not include carryover money as the 2020 carryover money is not calculated in and would be carried over to 2021 and 2022.


While the above figures are all estimates and the bottom of the roster could have undrafted rookie free agents who would be cheaper, it gives a broad stroke on where the team is sitting salary-cap wise. The $28 million the team started with initially is paired down to $13.4 million.

So I ask fans to keep that $13.4 million in the back of their mind when wanting to dole out restructures or extensions. Remember such moves not only affect this year, but future years as well.

Please comment below and express your opinions about the 2021 salary cap figure. Are you concerned with it? Will the team have to make some unpopular cuts or not sign some of the players who are not under contract?