The journey toward the 2017 season is now in full swing with the Pittsburgh Steelers having reported to Latrobe for their annual training camp at Saint Vincent College, where they have held their camps for over half a century now.
This is surely the time more than any other in which we find ourselves full of questions that we are looking to get answered, and this also tends to be the best time to get answers to those questions that have been building up over the course of time since the 2016 season ended.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the training camp and the preseason 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: What are the odds of cornerback Dashaun Phillips making the 53-man roster?
It has become something of an annual tradition for the Steelers to add a cornerback into the mix late in the proceedings, and the timing can range anywhere between the middle of training camp to the final cut downs.
Dashaun Phillips, whom the team acquired virtually for free yesterday evening via trade, is yet another late addition cornerback, falling just after the second preseason game. He’ll have a short turnaround to participate in the third preseason game, but if he is somebody the team really expects to make the roster, he may well play.
Either way, he will have time to play in the preseason finale. And this is not a guy off the streets. He has been in Washington’s camp all this time, so it’s not like he needs to get into football shape or anything. He probably practiced yesterday.
A former 2014 undrafted free agent, he has played in 11 games over the course of the past two years, making two starts a year ago. The only stats to his name are nine tackles, two of which came against the Steelers in last year’s opener. He has another five the following week, the two games in which he started as a slot nickel.
According to Football Outsiders, Phillips played 60 snaps on special teams last year in five games, and 89 the year before in six games, so he is somebody who could contribute in that area. One of his five tackles in Week Two last year did come on special teams.
Still, it will be a tough ask for him to make the roster at this point. Just yesterday, I projected that seven cornerbacks will make the roster. One would think, given his slot and special teams role, that Mike Hilton—fan favorite or not—could be the most at-risk by this signing, though the degree of risk may not be significant. We shall see. Their acquired players do have a solid track record of making the team.