The Pittsburgh Steelers wrapped up their second preseason game of 2014 in somewhat “dramatic” fashion against the Buffalo Bills at Heinz Field on Saturday night. And, much like the play that put the team in position to kick a winning field goal in the waning seconds of the 4th quarter, there are three players on defense who are making a splash (and their case) to either make the roster or have significant playing time in 2014.
Vic So’oto, OLB
One of the guys making the most of his time when on the field is former BYU linebacker and 3rd year veteran, Vic So’oto. So’oto has been all over the place – for defense and special teams. What’s more impressive about the former undrafted free agent is his ability to create a splash play two consecutive weeks. One can argue that So’oto’s presence late in the games where the plays have occurred is aided by the fact he is going up against lesser defenses than he would were he to start or even role play as a sub. There’s some truth to that, but it takes skill and effort to be able to finish off a play in creating turnovers the way he has.
So’oto’s tip ball lateral fumble from the Giants game and the sack fumble from Saturday night both put the Steelers in position to win the game. That’s exactly what the Steelers crave and it is without a doubt the biggest part of the Steelers D lacking the last several seasons.
He certainly is making his case loudly and clearly that he might just be a vital part of this defense from a depth perspective. Whether he’s finally figured a way to play well in the NFL or he’s just on a hot streak, it will be very difficult for the coaches to determine if he will continue to make strides or fizzle as the season wears on – and therefore, very difficult to cut this young man in just a few short weeks.
It’s hard to imagine that the only way So’oto even appeared at camp with the Steelers is because he signed a futures contract back in January. He kind of has that young James Harrison vibe about him right now, that I think the Steelers can’t help but keep this guy around for at least a season and on special teams/backing up Jason Worilds. Cris Carter, another OLB vet who plays behind starter Worilds, is having a sub-par camp, and Vic So’oto could find himself making the leapfrog.