Happy Friday to all yinz wherever yinz might be and welcome to the second weekend of May.
The Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 rookie minicamp got underway on Friday and it’s great to see football in shorts resuming once again. The next few weeks should move along quite quickly as the Steelers OTA practices will soon be following.
As many of yinz already know by now I have had quite a few trips to see doctors over the course of the last several weeks. Thankfully, those trips are startling to come to an end soon. My colonoscopy went fine this past Tuesday and while I did have two polyps removed during the procedure, the doctor doesn’t believe they’ll come back as cancerous. Additionally, my brain scan didn’t reveal an aneurysm and that certainly was great news. Next up for me is a sleep study later this month along with a few follow-up visits with various doctors.
This might come as a big surprise to a few of you, but I’m actually going to take a mini vacation next week as my wife and I are going to fly to Washington, D.C. for four full days. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to react to that, but I do know the site will be in great hands as Alex Kozora and Matthew Marczi are both top-notch at what they do.
As is the norm around here on Friday nights, I have five questions for yinz to answer in the comments below and I look forward to reading the replies.
Have a great weekend and thank you to all my well-wishers the last couple of weeks. Peace and love, peace and love.
1 – True or false: Steelers undrafted rookie wide receiver Quadree Henderson will make the initial 53-man roster in 2018 as the team’s return man.
2- Somewhat surprisingly, Steelers linebacker L.J. Fort led the team in total preseason defensive tackles in both 2017 and 2016. With that nugget noted, name the player most-likely to accomplish that feat during the 2018 preseason.
3 – Of the seven payers listed below, all of which finished the 2017 season with the Steelers, which ones, if any, do you think will ultimately make the initial 53-man roster in 2018?
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey
WR Justin Hunter
RB Stevan Ridley
CB Coty Sensabaugh
DT Daniel McCullers
ILB L.J. Fort
TE Xavier Grimble
4 – Of the Steelers seven draft picks and 13 undrafted free agents, which one has been over-hyped way too much ahead of the team’s rookie minicamp getting underway?
5 – Of the reported rookie minicamp tryout players listed below, which one, in your personal opinion, has the best chance of getting signed after this weekend?
CB Malik Boynton
S Colin Boit
S Zykiesis Cannon
DB Mike Minter
S Jeremy Taylor
QB Alek Torgersen
CB Shawun Lurry
LB Cameron Tarver
LB Wendell Dunn
LB Courtney Love
P Hunter Niswander
RB Dorian Brown
RB Jarred Craft
TE Brett Thompson
G Brandon Hodges
LB Garrett Pougnet
T R.J. Prince
WR Tyler Palka
WR Damoun Patterson
Question 1 – Unsurprisingly, the two lowest Steelers draft picks were named not to make the 53-man roster this year. 7th round draft pick Joshua Frazier received 35% of the vote followed by 5th rounder Jaylen Samuels with 30%. Chuks Okorafor got 22.5% & 2.5% for Marcus Allen. The remaining 10% believe that all the draft picks will make the 53-man roster this year.
Question 2 – There were several things we liked about Ben Roethlisberger’s radio interview for those that listened to it. We liked that he sounded motivated and under pressure to win now. His remarks were transparent, and he addressed the Dobbs situation forthrightly and was honest about wishing players were selected in the 3rd round that could help the team this upcoming season. He also stuck up for the current back-ups Landry Jones & Josh Dobbs. However, we did not like that his comments were a disconnect from the front office and that he was creating unnecessary drama. His comments about Mason Rudolph were considered disrespectful and he showed too much favoritism to Landry Jones. Also, disappointment that he was surprised that the team was looking for his eventual replacement given his former remarks about retirement before last season. Some folks would prefer that he not say anything. The interview did churn media buzz; we’ll see if it proves to be a lingering distraction.
Question 3 – 70% believe that Joshua Dobbs will fail to make the 2018 53-man roster, while 25% believe Landry Jones will not make it. Another 5% hedged and said the answer depended on how well Mason Rudolph performed in the preseason.
Question 4 – The single biggest worry about Mason Rudolph’s play in college is that he played in a defensively weak Big 12 Conference so is unproven against NFL quality defenses. Some version of that concern was voiced by 35%. Arm strength was voiced by another 15%. Here are other weaknesses pointed out by Steelers Depot respondents: movement in the pocket; slow release; blitz reads; touch on slot passes; accuracy; reading progressions; play calling; short throws; footwork; lack of mobility & appeared to be a “soft” player. Here’s his draft profile that includes an analysis by Lance Zierlein. One NFL regional scout stated, “If you spoke with ten different scouts you would get at least four different opinions about him. I’ve just seen too many of those system quarterbacks struggle to make it in the league so I’m hesitant to buy in. He has gotten better this year.” It will be fun to see how he looks in Latrobe.
Question 5 – A segment of respondents believe that the Steelers should have drafted up to be able to reach ILB Roquan Smith (8); OLB Leighton Vander Esch (19); C Billy Price (21) or ILB Rashaan Evans (22). There were reports that the Steelers did unsuccessfully attempt a transaction to move up to get Evans. The other players that we were mad that the Steelers did not draft this year include:
RB Sony Michel (31): was available when Terrell Edmunds (28) was selected.
OLB Harold Landry (41): needed to reach for in 1st round or trade up in 2nd round.
Edge Lorenzo Carter (66): was available when James Washington (60) was selected.
ILB Oren Burks (88): was available when Mason Rudolph (76) was selected.
ILB Josey Jewell (106): was available when Chuks Okorafor (92) was selected.
Edge Josh Sweat (130): needed to reach for in 3rd round. Steelers had no 4th round.
OLB Shaquem Griffin (141): would have needed to trade down. Steelers had pick 148.
LB Genard Avery (150): was available when Marcus Allen (148) was selected.
Edge Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (160): was available when Marcus Allen (148) was selected.
LB Skai Moore (UDFA): was available when Joshua Frazier (246) was selected or signed as UDFA rookie.
Seven of these were available to be drafted by the Steelers with their picks. The others would have needed either trading up or down to get.