The Pittsburgh Steelers first OTA session of the offseason gets underway on Tuesday and here are five topics of interest that I will be keeping a lookout for.
Who Shows Up? – These OTA practices are of course voluntary, but all eyes will peeled for whether or not safety Troy Polamalu shows up. With Ryan Clark now gone and Mike Mitchell signed during free agency to take his place, Polamalu will have a new counterpart in the Steelers secondary for the first time since 2006. Polamalu did show up last year to welcome then-rookie Shamarko Thomas to the fold.
The Rehabbing – Center Maurkice Pouncey, guard Nik Embernate and defensive end Nick Williams are all coming off of season ending injuries. Pouncey is supposedly close to being back to 100%, but still might not be able to do anything more than individual drills for a little while. While they were both eligible to participate in the recent rookie minicamp, Embernate and Williams were still sidelined. Like Pouncey, the two second-year players might not be ready to hit the field just yet.
Shaquille Eligible? – We’re pretty sure that rookie linebacker Jordan Zumwalt won’t be able to attend the OTA sessions because of UCLA being on the quarter system, but there still seems to be a question as to whether or not rookie cornerback Shaquille Richardson can participate being as Arizona is reportedly on the semester system. We should know for sure by Tuesday afternoon.
Wesley On Guard? – It’s probably way too early to worry about where rookie offensive lineman Wesley Johnson will line up initially on the Steelers offensive line, but being as I specialize in over analyzing that kind of stuff, I wonder if he will get a few reps at one of the two guard spots during the first week of OTAs.
Top Three Watch – The start of the 2014 season is still several months away, but being as there’s probably a decent chance that the Steelers first three draft picks, linebacker Ryan Shazier, defensive end Stephon Tuitt and wide receiver/running back Dri Archer, will all get an opportunity to contribute right out of the chute, progress reports on each will surely be welcomed.
Feel free to add the things that you will be looking out for in the comments below.