The calendar has now flipped over to July and that means the Pittsburgh Steelers annual training camp will be getting underway in Latrobe later this month. As usual, we have several series planned to get you ready for this year’s training camp and mine will center around preview profiles of 50 players over the course of the next 25 days. Most of these profiles will be on players who were under contract with the team in 2016.
Up thirty-first in this series is a 2017 preview profile of defensive end L.T. Walton.
Intro: Walton’s 2016 season included him starting four games later in the year due to injuries on the Steelers defensive line. In total, the Central Michigan product played just over 250 defensive snaps with 187 coming during his four starts. He registered just 8 total tackles and a defensed pass.
Current Strengths: Much better player against the run than he is against the pass. Has shown he can use his long arms well against the run in order to get extension and then shed to make a tackle. Showed some improved balance in 2016 and stayed on his feet better. Improved leverage off the snap against the run. Does contain escape routes well as a pass rusher. He will chase the ball carrier and play.
Current Weaknesses: Not a threat as a pass rusher and usually tries to go right down the middle of offensive linemen instead of attacking half man. Has no real pass rush moves or counters other than hand fighting and initial punches. Too easily stymied at the line and has problems breaking free.
2017 Outlook: Walton appears to be set to make the 53-man roster again in 20127 as a backup defensive end. The former sixth-round draft pick isn’t likely to see as much playing time as he did last season, however. The Steelers signed Tyson Alualu during the offseason and he should be the primary backup to starters Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt. Walton could find himself on the inactive list a few times during the 2017 season if he indeed winds up making the 53-man roster.
2017 Base Salary: $615,000
2017 Salary Cap Charge: $644,232
2017 Health Status: No known ailments exiting offseason program
2016 Health Status: Zero games missed last season due to injury
2016 Regular Season Snaps Played: 254 of 1,046
2016 Stat That Matters: Two of 6 tackles against run resulted in losses.