Steven Means is no stranger to anxiety when the roster cuts come rolling in. Since entering the league as a fifth round pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013, very little has been handed to him. I’m sure that sits just fine with Means, who after bouncing from the Bucs to the Baltimore Ravens and now the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles, has worked himself into a position to make the roster again.
At 6’3” 263 pounds, the 27-year old defensive end that celebrates a birthday in a couple weeks has kept his job by thriving in the preseason. From 2016 to 2017 he racked up a total of 28 pressures. When given a chance at regular season action last year, Means rewarded the Eagles with a sack in Week 17 against the Dallas Cowboys.
More important than his production to this point has been his leadership qualities.
This final preseason game means a lot to Eagles fighting for their jobs and their livelihood— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) August 30, 2018
You want to know what it Means?
Steven Means pregame speech
Our NBC10 pregame show takes you up until gametime at 7 PM#FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/cSmolpqHvI
One thing you notice about Means, is how much you see him coaching up the players around him. Mike Mayock relayed a story about how Means was schooling Jordan Mailata on what he saw in Mailata’s set that spurred him to take an inside track on a pass rush. Not only is this a sign of a mentor, but it also highlighted Means’ technical knowledge and fast processing speed. The Eagles have used Means on the scout team and the value he brings there is unquestioned. He’s tasked with setting up and executing his rushes in practice like the player the opposite offensive tackle will face that Sunday and by all accounts he does an excellent job in that role.
With the 2018 preseason in the books, Means has again showed why he’s worth keeping around not just for his leadership, but for the quality of his play. Heading into the week 4 game against the New York Jets, Means ranked tied for 5th in pressures (11) according to Pro Football Focus. Among defensive ends with at least 30 snaps, he ranked 4th in pass rush productivity. It’s an understood and necessary qualifier that Means takes a healthy amount of reps against second and third stringers, but the technique and traits he displays on film are impressive nonetheless.
Look at Steven Means out here ballin' and cornering through contact - pic.twitter.com/Nj8YS00Ss6— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) August 31, 2018
His snap anticipation, first-step quickness, power in his hands and understanding of leverage flash consistently in the run and pass game. He’s only gotten better over the years, adding more knowledge and moves to his toolbox.
The tough question for the Eagles becomes, with the emergence of rookie fourth round selection Josh Sweat.. is now the time to move on from Means or is his development going to lead to more meaningful regular season snaps soon? He turns 28 in a couple weeks and is facing a loaded depth chart to wade through. With Means on a one-year contract, Howie Roseman just may decide it’s time to cash in on his investment.
Means is garnering attention from around the league, including our friend Sosa Kremenjas from Turf Show Times.
Here is the Steven Means highlight tape, and this doesn't even include what he's done in this preseason.— Sosa (@QBsMVP) August 22, 2018
It's clear I'm high on him, and think it'd be smart for the Rams to pursue.
I know @jco3215 is high on him, what about the Eagles boys (@BenjaminSolak @MichaelKistNFL)? pic.twitter.com/SQGyzfPsVH
If Means were to be shopped, what compensation would he garner? A fourth round pick? A fifth? That’s unknown but what is known is that there’s a premium on solid edge play. Personally, I want to see Means make this roster and have a chance to make a meaningful contribution for the Eagles in 2018. If the snaps aren’t available, perhaps it would be best for Means and the team to do what’s best for each other’s future. Means is a great locker room guy and a solid player that can make an immediate contribution on a lot of teams. All he needs is a chance.
Should the Eagles trade Steven Means?
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