By the sounds of training camp, the Steelers should have plenty of talent to work with. This also includes the rookies, who from most of, have heard nothing but positive things coming from reports. Let’s take a look on how each rookie is progressing through their first week of training camp.
Remember the short time period we were all groaning after the selection of Ryan Shazier shortly after the pick. Those days are long gone, as it looks like Shazier is one of the most pro-ready rookies the Steelers have drafted in a long time. Shazier not only looks to be just another starter out there, albeit a rookie, but looks to be a star, as a rookie! He has lined up with the first team all of training camp and hasn’t looked back. He has dominated in the backs on backers. He has had several dropped picks, must be training with Ike Taylor. At least he was in position. Several reports have come out on how he will switch with Jarvis Jones and move to the outside, the options Dick Lebeau has when Shazier is on the field will be enough to put this defense back in the top of the league.
Most rookie defensive lineman don’t even sniff the starting lineup, but that has changed with Stephen Tuitt in camp. It took Cameron Heyward 2.5 years to crack the starting lineup. It took Ziggy Hood 2 years to actually be the starter going into camp due to the ax of Aaron Smith. Tuitt, well he may not start the season, but looks to get lots of playing time and very well could be the full time starter come the end. He has shown great burst off the snap and continues to put pressure on the ball carrier. He is splitting snaps with Cam Thomas at DE and played with the first team when Steve McLendon had the day off.
Ryan Shazier may have the biggest impact his rookie season, but Dri Archer sure looks to give him a run for his money. He also looks to cash in on splash plays his rookie season. It seems like every day I read that Dri Archer takes one to the house or picks up a huge gain. Not only does it look like he will make plays in the offense, but has also been the first kick returner and the second punt returner behind Antonio Brown. Dri Archer looks to have a large role in the offense his rookie season.
Martavis Bryant… has been inconsistent to say the least. One play he will leap make a leaping catch, the next will hit him in the chest and will be dropped. But he is still a rookie and those are rookie mistakes that he will make but have to learn from. Right now he is third on the depth chart, but the way he has played, he should be ahead of Darius Heyward-Bey. Also the way Justin Brown has played, he will be the fifth receiver at best this year. He does look to have a future as the Steelers tall receiver however.
Richardson is currently listed as the 4th LCB behind Cortez Allen, William Gay and Antwon Blake. Unless the Steelers keep him on his potential this year, Richardson has to pick up his play in order to make the final 53, especially after the surprise performance Antwon Blake is having this training camp. The only report I have heard so far is he is slow and weak off the snap.
Johnson is listed as both the third team LT and LG. However, he has played with the second team and third team at just about every position. He has even played some center. Not much to report about Johnson.
Also not much to report about Jordan Zumwalt, as he is currently listed as third team RILB.
For a late round defensive lineman, McCullers is certainly having a solid camp. He is listed as third team NT, but could push Hebron Fangupo for the backup position. He certainly has the size to be a solid NT and had the best practice of training camp Friday from reports. Sounds like McCullers just has to keep progressing and he will make the team as a third NT if they keep 3.
Also not much to report about the progress of Blanchflower. He was injured and had a walking boot for a couple days and is currently listed as the 5th tight end. The Steelers usually keep around 3-4 tight ends, so Blanchflower has some climbing to do.
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