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Steelers stock report heading into Week 2 of the NFL preseason

What players are on the rise and on the fall heading into Week 2 of the preseason?

NFL: Preseason-Pittsburgh Steelers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers are riding off the high of a fantastic performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1 of the NFL preseason. Now, they prepare for the first game in Acrisure Stadium of the season where they will host the Buffalo Bills.

With Week 2 being the unofficial “dress rehearsal” game, these are the players who, for better or worse, have stood out amongst the rest of the roster.

Stock Rising

Nick Herbig

I’m convinced Herbig is going to be the predominant relief redge rusher to come in and get a healthy amount of snaps as a rookie. He blew up two plays against the Buccaneers, and he has been blowing past the Steelers’ offensive line throughout camp. His first step is already incredible, he has a ghost move that no one can seem to solve, and his motor is off the charts.

Even though he is undersized for an edge rusher, the rookie out of Wisconsin has been a freight train every time he’s stepped on the field. He will be a great role player for the Steelers this season.

Kwon Alexander

I cannot wait to see this man close in on ball carriers in the regular season. Alexander had two terrific run stops against the Buccaneers, one of which he punched the gap and exploded into the backfield and did is best impression of Edge with a spear to the ball carrier.

This linebacking group is deep, which is a welcome change to what Steelers fans have grown accustom to in recent memory. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m having Vietnam flashbacks of Devin Bush, Joe Schobert, Sean Spence, and Mark Barron.

Keeanu Benton

There must be something in the water in Madison because both rookies from Wisconsin have been on one throughout camp and preseason. Benton bullied the Buccaneers’ offensive line, getting off blocks and disrupting plays in the backfield on multiple occasions.

While Benton was third on the Steelers’ initial depth chart, his odds of starting Week 1 are high. Mike Tomlin and his coaching staff will make him earn it, but Benton is well on his way to being in the middle of the defensive line full-time.

Mason Rudolph

Give Rudolph his flowers. Having to get all his reps behind a poor excuse for an offensive line isn’t easy, and he has constantly been under pressure throughout camp and during the first preseason game because of it. In spite of that, he looked sharp against the Buccaneers. The former third-round pick went 7-of-12 for 132 yards and a deep touchdown pass to Calvin Austin III.

It was nice to see Rudolph have a good showing. Steelers’ fans have had a complicated relationship with him, but there aren’t many better third quarterbacks on a depth chart than Mason Rudolph.

Stock Falling

Kendrick Green

Enough is enough. Either use Green as a fullback or don’t use him at all- he is not an NFL offensive lineman. The fact that the talk around training camp at the beginning of the month was Green’s potential position-change, only for none of that being displayed in the first preseason game was incredibly irritating. He gets bullied off the ball every time he snaps it, and can’t prevent nose tackles who are much bigger than him from applying pressure. Pull the plug on this experiment. He’s either a fullback or a free agent- pick one.

Mitch Trubisky

Now, to everyone saying that there is a battle for QB2 after Friday- no there isn’t. Trubisky is still comfortably the No. 2 guy. While he went 1-for-4 with an interception, one bad showing doesn’t immediately mean Mitch is being thrown to the wolves and that a competition of the backup quarterback is beginning. All of that said, we would all like to see him perform better against Buffalo this week.

Cody White/Hakeem Butler

White has had a far better camp than Butler, but neither did anything to make a serious case for themselves in the game against Tampa Bay. Both have good size and show flashes during team drills, but neither translated it into live-game action. We’ll see if either one can pull ahead of the other in Week 2.

James Pierre

I wouldn’t be shocked if Pierre gets demoted to the practice squad. The Steelers’ defensive back room is deeper than it’s been in a long time, and Pierre just isn’t good enough or consistent enough to be a rotational piece. Yes, he led the team in tackles Friday, but that’s because he was tackling guys he was covering immediately after they beat him in coverage. Guys like Elijah Riley and Kenny Robinson have impressed enough throughout camp where they can each leapfrog Pierre for a roster spot.