With the Pittsburgh Steelers at their bye week halfway through the year, it is a great time to reflect on the first half. We will pick a group of players over the next two weeks and see whether or not they have met their expectations to date, and whether they can hit those expectations in the second half of the year. Today, we look at Leterrius Walton.
Coming into the season, Leterrius Walton had no expectations. While it was more likely than not, he was not necessarily a lock to make the team. Even if he did, playing time would be sparse. As long as he did not get cut or embarrass himself, he would likely meet expectations at the least.
Through Eight Weeks
Walton made the team, and while it has come in doses, he has made enough plays to not only meet expectations but exceed them. He has played in just 17% of the snaps this season and has six tackles. However, he has shown a good understanding of where to be on the field and made a great play reading a bootleg to knock a pass away against the Lions. He has made some plays running laterally and chasing down backs in the open field as well. His hustle plays in limited snaps helps wear down offensive lineman and he brings the same intensity on special teams as well. He has been a pleasant surprise and a player who can carry a bottom of the roster.
Second half outlook
Walton has seen his play on the defensive side of the ball spike at times with the injury to Stephon Tuitt. The hope is that Tuitt will be back after the bye week and Walton is back to a role where 10 snaps are his ceiling. Still, what he brings in those snaps are valuable. Tiring down lineman while resting a player like Tuitt or Cameron Heyward goes a long way for a team with playoff aspirations, and the team has to feel good about their depth with Walton and Alualu playing better than anticipated in reserve roles.