On Friday it was reported that Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Eli Rogers suffered a torn ACL in the team’s Divisional Round loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars and that now means he’s going to be sidelined for at least 8 months and maybe longer. Rogers is also set to become a restricted free agent during the offseason and with his recent injury combined with his lack of overall production in 2017, he’s in an unfortunate situation. Rogers’ misfortune, however, could create an excellent opportunity for wide receiver Marcus Tucker, who has spent that season and a half on the Steelers practice squad.
During his short time with the Steelers, Tucker has seen mostly limited action in preseason games. However, in last year’s preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers, Tucker had a coming out party of sorts has he caught 5 passes for 83 yards. He also was credited with an assisted special teams tackle during that game and another full tackle in the Steelers first preseason game. He ended the preseason with 8 receptions for 97 yards in 97 total offensive snaps played. Oh, he also showed he can block.
During the preseason we mostly saw Tucker line up on the outside. It will now be interesting to see if he’s used more in the slot, assuming he sticks on the roster throughout the offseason. Showing that he can play inside will increase his versatility as the Steelers look as if they might now need a backup behind JuJu-Smith Schuster.
With Rogers currently injured and veteran speedsters Darrius Heyward-Bey and Justin Hunter both unlikely to be around next season, Tucker should have a shot at securing a bottom-of-the-depth-chart spot. In order to do that, however, he’ll really need to impress new Steelers wide receivers coach Darryl Drake in addition to special teams coordinator Danny Smith.
The fact that Tucker has managed to stick around in Pittsburgh since November of 2016 on the team’s practice squad certainly means something. With that said, the 2018 offseason will be crucial for him as this might be his last legitimate shot at making the Steelers 53-man roster.
In case you missed the Film Room post on Tucker after the preseason finale against the Panthers, he could read it by following the link below.