The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.
And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Which tryout player is most likely to find a spot on the 90-man roster by the end of the rookie minicamp?
The Steelers officially kick off legitimate football activities today, as the rookie minicamp commences. Today is the day that these players will be participating in football activities for the first time since they graduated, if they are rookies, or, for most of the others as well, since last season, or whenever they were last part of a team. Some first-year players, of course, who were already on the 90-man roster and participating in Phase One and Two, are also included, such as Marcus Tucker.
It doesn’t happen every single year, but often enough, the Steelers do find a player or two among the tryouts that they brought in who prove to be good enough to make the 90-man roster, and coincidentally enough, Tucker was one of them. He not only earned a spot on the 90-man roster, he spent a bit of time on the practice squad a year ago and remains with the team.
Perhaps the most successful former tryout player in very recent history is Terence Garvin. He was, if I recall, a late invite to the rookie minicamp on a tryout basis, earned a spot on the 90-man roster, and then made a name for himself on special teams. He spent three years on the roster and is now entering his fifth season in the league.
The Steelers have roughly 50 players participating in the rookie minicamp, including their eight rookie draft picks, nine rookie undrafted free agents, and, by my count, 13 first-year players who were already on the 90-man roster, meaning that there are around 20 or so players in on a tryout basis.
You can consult the list here to review the names of the tryout players. Admittedly, it’s not the most impressive list we’ve seen. A decent number of the tryouts seem to be wide receivers, but, of course, they need bodies there to carry out the camp. My guess would be Pittsburgh safety Reggie Mitchell, based largely on his position. There are only six on the 90-man roster, and he is the only tryout safety they brought in.