Happy Friday Steeler Nation! There is lots of news around the web as people continue to wrap up the draft and football training/practice starts up for many teams. Here we go:
The Steelers Rookie Minicamp started. It will be at the South Side facility and consist of meetings and on-the-field drills. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), only rookies and first year players can attend. This year there will be 41 or 42 attendees, according to Bob Labriola of Steelers Digest. He lists the players invited to try out for the Steelers, including another QB:
The eight players in for a weekend tryout include Purdue QB Caleb Terbush, West Virginia RB Ryan Clarke, West Virginia LB Terence Garvin, Pitt CB Jared Holley, Youngstown State TE Will Shaw, Virginia Tech DT Antoine Hopkins, UTEP S DeShawm Grayson, and Pitt S Andrew Taglianetti.”
Seeing another QB on this list kind of raised my eyebrows because I don’t want to see a circus like the Jets have with 5 QBs to workout in late summer. However, I guess it can’t hurt to look. If WV’s RB Ryan Clarke makes the team, won’t that be confusing for the sports broadcasters? Well, perhaps not, since the veteran is on defense, but still with some broadcasters it could be a hoot.
Garry Dulac, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, took a look at Shamarko Thomas and what he can bring to the Steelers. Dulac seems to stop just short of calling Thomas the next Troy Polamalu, but he suggests Thomas will make a big splash:
Pitt fans will remember Thomas for his vicious helmet-to-helmet hit on tight end J.P Holtz in a game at the Carrier Dome last season — a play in which Thomas’ helmet went flying off his head and he immediately collapsed to the ground. The play happened in the fourth quarter, and Thomas never returned to the game.”
Thomas has a compelling personal story and he seems to have a great work ethic. I hope he makes it through the camps and into a spot on the roster this year.
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert was a guest on ESPN 970 Radio recently and the conversation got around to what’s in store for offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum, according to the blog Steelers Depot. Colbert says they signed Beachum because he has potential to play more than one position, including center. While I’m sure he’s no Pouncey, that is one position that the Steelers need to have a good backup ready to go. The way Roethlisberger plays, the center can be challenged to get the ball into Roethlisbergers hands accurately while blocking what is coming across the line. Pouncey has had his share of injuries and this season will probably add more to the list. Colbert said that the coaches probably aren’t going to put him at center to train just yet, but it’s still an option.
Alan Robinson, of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review speculates that Marcus Wheaton, a WR from Oregon State, could make the biggest impact out of all the rookies this year. While he doesn’t have as much speed as Mike Wallace, Todd Haley was quoted about Wheaton’s versatility:
A little different skill set than Mike other than the speed,” Haley said. “I saw Mike as more of an outside receiver outside the numbers. This guy has played the slot a bunch when he wasn’t outside. He is a little wider base, a little more running back.”
Wheaton, Oregon State’s all-time leading receiver caught 91 passes for 1,244 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. Let’s hope the Steelers found a gem with Wheaton.
So, what do you think Steeler Nation? Is there any single draft pick that you are going to watch to see how he does? I’m just hopeful that the Steelers can put together a solid roster this year. One that has enough depth to handle the inevitable injury. I’ll be watching to see what happens during the rookie mini-camp too. I hope there are one or two surprises from it.
Have a great weekend Steeler Nation!