The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season was memorable for a lot of reasons. The red-hot 11-0 start was something no black and gold fan has ever experienced before, while losing five of their last six was something we all wish we could forget.
Throughout all of this there was still some good to come out of the season. A lot of players showed massive amounts of improvement, so much so we might view the future of the position in a different way.
It is now time to start to think about who might be viewed as the Most Improved Player from the 2020 season. Here are the nominees, but know I left out all rookies considering the massive amount of improvement they should naturally show in their first year as a professional.
Now for the nominees:
Spillane was a player who seemed destined for the practice squad whether in Pittsburgh or elsewhere. Now he seems to be the quality depth the team desperately needed at the inside linebacker position. If not for his knee injury in 2020, you have to wonder what the Steelers’ defense would have looked like down the stretch.
Okorafor didn’t win the starting right tackle job to start the 2020 season, but when Zach Banner was lost with a torn ACL in Week 1, Okorafor did a tremendous job filling in. He played so well most are thinking he could be the next left tackle in 2021 if the team can get Banner back on the cheap.
Does anyone remember thinking we’d miss Javon Hargrave when he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency? I remember thinking that, then the 2020 season started. Tyson Alualu was dynamic and effective as the Steelers’ nose tackle, when they used one, but also was a very good rotational player at defensive end. His pass rush improved, and he became an extremely reliable play on the defensive interior. A tremendous improvement for Alualu, and it makes you wonder if the knee injury suffered in Baltimore lingered throughout the rest of the season.
Fans love to bash Edmunds, but all he has done throughout his career is be consistent and available. While those characteristics aren’t the only two which should play a role in evaluating a first round pick, Edmunds has improved a lot since his rookie season. No, he isn’t, or ever will be, the ball hawking safety fans want, but you can’t bash his improvement during that process. Edmunds had a great season, and deserves to be on the list.
Many might scoff at the idea of Allen being on this list, but if you think about how far he came in just one season you might think differently. Allen was essentially relegated to a back up, special team, practice squad role for his entire career. During training camp this season the organization decided to have Allen play some inside linebacker. Whether it be out of necessity or because he earned it, Allen played a bigger role in 2020. He wasn’t perfect, far from it, but he did show tremendous improvement this season.
Let us know what you think in the poll below, and if you think the answer to the question is someone not listed, please let us know who you would have voted for in the comment section below!
Who was the Steelers’ Most Improved Player in 2020?
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