It won’t be long now before the Pittsburgh Steelers begin rolling into Latrobe, PA to make Saint Vincent College their home away from home for several weeks as the summer winds down. That is when we know that training camp has begun, and with it the first breaths of the 2018 NFL season.
Everything that we have experienced up until now, from the re-signings, releases, and restructures to the draft and all the way through OTAs and minicamp, has been but a preview, the setup, for what is to come next.
And so we too continue to preview what comes next in a series in which we will highlight several of the battles for roster spots and roles that we expect to see during our time observing in training camp and throughout the preseason.
Position: Outside Linebacker
Up for Grabs: No. 4-5 Depth
In the Mix: Keion Adams, Olasunkanmi Adeniyi, Farrington Huguenin, The Field
As it currently stands, the Steelers only have six players that they list as linebackers on their website that are outside linebackers, though Darnell Leslie is surely also a part of that group. Still, it’s a generally low number, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if we see an addition in training camp.
The top three positions seem to be more or less locked in with T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree as the starters and Anthony Chickillo—the only other player at the position with any semblance of meaningful experience—manning those spots. The rest of the group is made up of novices.
That includes Keion Adams first and foremost, who was a seventh-round draft pick a year ago. Even though he suffered a shoulder injury before he got into a preseason game, the Steelers liked what they saw and wanted to keep him around, so they left him on injured reserve all year.
He should be the odds-on favorite to win the number four job, but he is not the only one in the mix. While they did not draft anybody at the position this offseason—or sign any in free agency—they did add Olasunkanmi Adeniyi as a college free agent, a player I though was draftable.
While he lacks the desired prototypical size for the position that the Steelers have targeted with their more recent acquisitions, Adeniyi shows some pass-rush potential on his college tape at Toledo, something he shares in common with Adams from Western Michigan.
Farrington Huguenin is a holdover from previous practice squads, a former college teammate of Dupree’s. He has been around the team, at least, and I do seem to recall that he performed decently well during the preseason.
This would be a prime target for an addition at some point in training camp, though, even just a player not even likely to make the roster, to add depth to the group. The door also seems to be open still for a potential reunion with Arthur Moats.