Skip to main content

10 Steelers Who Improved Their Roster Stock vs. Eagles

New stars emerge, and veterans fall, as the Pittsburgh Steelers move to 2-0 in the preseason.

It was honestly a good night for the Pittsburgh Steelers. From top to bottom of the roster, not many players stood out for poor performances.

That being said, there are always a few. In this game, a 24-16 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Steelers had eight players whose roster stock improved and two who watched their falls.

We'll start with those who shined.


Jamir Jones, Edge

Back-to-back sacks are impressive no matter who you are, but when you're an undrafted free agent who spent last season sitting around, it's an even bigger deal. The Steelers have watched Jamir Jones shine at training camp, but he's quickly turning that into game production as well.

Jones caught Flacco in the pocket and then hit Nick Mullens and forced an interception. For a second-team edge rusher, it was as good of a night as you could ask for.

He's still climbing, but Jones' roster stock sky-rocketed the last two weeks.

Jaylen Samuels, Running Back

Samuels was not many fans' favorite player coming into Thursday night, but he played well. Behind Kevin Dotson and the backups, Samuels ran the ball 10 times for 45 yards and a score.

With Kalen Ballage injured, Samuels' stock is going back up quickly. He needs to stay around that four to five-yard average in the next two preseason games, but he could sneak his way back onto this roster.

Isaiahh Loudermilk, Defensive Tackle

Everyone keeps calling Loudermilk a "little Cam Heyward," which is hard to imagine when you're 6'7. The rookie played like a future stud, though.

He and Quincy Roche teamed up on a sack and then he batted down a ball at the line of scrimmage. That one drive alone put the idea in everyone's head that this little giant could have something special in him.

There's plenty of names behind the starters on the defensive line, but the fifth-round pick is someone to watch moving forward.

Kevin Dotson, Left Guard

Can Dotson start now? Asking for Najee Harris and whoever starts at quarterback next week.

The whole "Kevin Dotson hasn't earned it" narrative is now out the window. Dotson was the best offensive lineman in a Steelers uniform by a mile.

He came into the game telling media it was his personal Super Bowl and how he wanted to be the reason this team improved their run game. On every play, you watched him make an impact block somewhere.

It's time to stop playing games with the chip on Dotson's shoulder. Give this man the starting job.

Rico Bussey, Wide Receiver

Dwayne Haskins' favorite target in Philadelphia was Rico Bussey. This was really the first time the training camp start has taken his efforts and put them on display during a game, but four catches for 45 yards is a nice coming-out party.

Bussey is fighting from the ground up to win a roster spot in Pittsburgh. It's not impossible with Ray-Ray McCloud dealing with an injury.

Keep watching for what the new No. 84 can do in-game.

Quincy Roche, Edge

Roche was on the other end of the Loudermilk sack, which was his second sack in two preseason games as well. But for the edge rusher out of Miami, this was only one part of an impressive evening.

Roche played the defensive line to perfection against the Eagles. He worked his way into rushing lanes, caused havoc in the backfield and clogged up holes to make runners change direction.

The sixth-round pick is working with Jones to force their way into the depth roles in Pittsburgh. His roster stock has gone up almost every day this summer.

Anthony McFarland, Running Back

Read More

McFarland proved to be a very reliable No. 2 runner against the Eagles. With Benny Snell Jr. sidelined with an injury, all eyes have been on No. 26 - and he played exactly how everyone hoped.

"Ant came in highly conditioned," Tomlin said. "Last year, he missed some work during the team-development process because of his lack of readiness, which is very common for a young guy. He's been very available this year, and I think that's just aiding in his growth and development, and I think it's producing the play that you're looking at."

Tomlin also said what McFarland did last year won't earn him the job this year. Last season, the rookie out of Maryland was a skinny dude who ran faster than anyone. Now, he's pounding his way into the endzone.

Growth is very evident in this running back, and his role is going to increase because of it.

Dwayne Haskins, Quarterback

No way to avoid putting Haskins in this group is there? No one in a Steelers uniform played better than their third-string quarterback, and it should earn him a chance to be their second-stringer moving forward.

Haskins came into the preseason with the mindset that he wants to make the backup quarterback job a competition. The Steelers have tried hard to keep Mason Rudolph at the top of that battle, but Haskins is doing too much to keep Rudolph where he is.

The former first-round pick shined brighter than anyone in Philly, and if Big Ben is playing next week, Haskins deserves to be the first quarterback off the bench.


Joe Haeg, Right Tackle

Haeg was terrible in the Steelers' win over the Eagles. Zach Banner is slowly working his way back into the lineup for Pittsburgh, but until he's filling the right tackle role most of the time, it's a major weakness to the offensive line.

Haeg let defenders through untouched more than once in this game. There were some concerns when he signed with the Steelers, but there's always hope a new team means better results for a player.

Nope. Haeg's roster stock is dropping fast. Real fast.

Ulysees Gilbert III, Inside Linebacker

The Steelers needed an inside linebacker so bad. You know it's concerning when the defensive coordinator doesn't praise a position group, and it's even more concerning when a team is willing to take on a $53 million contract to find help.

Devin Bush and Robert Spillane will retain their jobs. Spillane will likely move to a backup role, but he's safe.

Buddy Johnson has impressed during training camp. Plus, he's a fourth-round rookie so, he's making the roster. And Marcus Allen is a special teams ace.

Gilbert is probably on the bottom of the totem pole. It hasn't looked pretty for him all summer, and his lack of progression through the preseason is only making a stronger case that he isn't part of this team's future.

Noah Strackbein is a Publisher with AllSteelers. Follow Noah on Twitter @NoahStrack, and AllSteelers @si_steelers.

You May Also Like:

10 Observations: Dwayne Haskins Sets Fire to QB Battle

Steelers Plan to Play Ben Roethlisberger vs. Lions

Steelers Defeat Eagles, Move to 2-0 in Preseason

Steelers Trade for LB Joe Schobert

Ravens' Rashod Bateman to Undergo Groin Surgery

Forecasting Steelers Starters vs. Eagles

5 Things to Watch Steelers vs. Eagles: Beware of Kevin Dotson

Mike Tomlin Compares T.J. Watt Holdout to Cam Heyward's

Steelers to Use Same QB Rotation vs. Eagles

Joe Haden Looking for Contract Extension With Steelers