The Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 training camp will get underway in Latrobe in a little more than four weeks from now and while a lot of eyes will be on the team’s seven draft picks this year, there are several other younger players that will be worth paying close attention to during the remainder of the summer as well. Below are six buzzworthy Steelers offensive players who weren’t draft picks of the team to watch closely once the team reports to Saint Vincent College at the end of July.
Marcus Tucker – WR – Is this finally the year that Tucker, a former undrafted free agent out of Northern Michigan, finally makes the Steelers 53-man roster? There’s been a lot of offseason buzz about the 5’10” wide receiver, who has spent the last year and a half on the Steelers practice squad. This is the third full offseason that Tucker has gone through with the Steelers and thus he’s a very experienced practice player at this point. This year during training camp and the preseason Tucker figures to get a lot more meaningful reps on offense in addition to showing he can be counted on to be an asset on special teams. As much offseason buzz as there’s been about Tucker, it will be very disappointing if he doesn’t ultimately make a strong run at a 53-man roster spot the remainder of the summer.
Patrick Morris – C/G – Is Morris the Steelers new version of B.J. Finney? Had he not missed so many games last season at TCU because of injuries, Morris would have likely been a late-round draft pick this year. Instead, he went undrafted and now the center/guard will look to show the Steelers this summer he was worthy of being a high-priority addition. At TCU, Morris played both guard and center and I suspect he’ll be given the opportunity to show that position flexibility during training camp and the preseason. While Morris is an extreme long-shot to make the Steelers 53-man roster this year, we should expect him to show enough to warrant a practice squad spot.
Jake Rodgers – T – Rodgers spent a lot of time on the Steelers practice squad last season and the team made sure to quickly add him back to their offseason roster after the Houston Texans waived him this past May. Now that the Steelers have lost tackle Jerald Hawkins for the 2018 season due to a quad injury, Rodgers, the former seventh-round selection of the Atlanta Falcons, might have an outside chance at making this year’s final 53-man roster as the team’s ninth and final offensive lineman. Rodgers has a little position flexibility, however, a good showing at tackle during training camp and the preseason might be enough for him to secure a roster spot.
R.J. Prince – G/T – Surprisingly, Prince did not sign immediately after the draft as a free agent. Instead, the North Carolina product arrived in Pittsburgh on a rookie minicamp tryout and impressed enough during those three practices to warrant the Steelers signing him. Prince enters the NFL with the notion he’ll likely be a better guard than tackle down the road and thus it will be interesting to see how much time he’s given at either spot during training camp and the preseason. Remember, current Steelers starting left guard Ramon Foster entered the NFL with a scouting report very similar to Prince’s and look what he’s turned out to be. At worst, one would think that Prince has a great shot at making the practice squad this year as a rookie.
Quadree Henderson – KR/WR – Henderson’s likely lone shot at making the Steelers 53-man roster as a rookie will be tied to his ability to return kickoffs during the preseason. Remember Stefan Logan several years ago? He finished the 2009 preseason with 5 kickoff returns for 185 yards and 9 punt returns for 191 yards and a touchdown and that forced the Steelers to keep him on their initial 53-man roster. Henderson, an undrafted free agent out of Pittsburgh, needs to take a few kickoffs to the house, or just short of it, during the preseason.
Christian Scotland-Williamson – TE – While he has no shot at making the Steelers 53-man roster in 2018 because of him being part of the International Player Pathway, Scotland-Williamson’s transition from rugby star to NFL tight end should be fun to watch just the same. At 6’9″, Scotland-Williamson shouldn’t be hard to locate whenever he’s on the field and one would think he should be an impactful special teams player during the preseason games due to his rugby background and reputation for delivering big hits.