The Pittsburgh Steelers third preseason game of 2018 will take place Saturday at home against the Tennessee Titans. Prior to every preseason game this year I have been spotlighting one offensive and one defensive player that I believe should be focused on throughout the contest. However, none of the players that I spotlight in this series will be draft picks of the team. Instead, I am focusing on younger players who joined the team this year as rookie or first or second-year free agents.
The offensive player I chose to spotlight for the Steelers third preseason game against the Titans is wide receiver Marcus Tucker.
Tucker has spent the last season and a half on the Steelers practice squad after initially being signed as an undrafted free agent out of Northern Michigan in 2016. This past offseason there was quite a bit of buzz about Tucker potentially making the 53-man roster this season due mainly to his time being around the team. However, so far during the preseason another young wide receiver, rookie Damoun Patterson, has seemingly stolen Tucker’s thunder and buzz.
Tucker has caught all of two passes for 14 yards so far this preseason after registering 8 for 97 yards last year during the exhibition schedule. He’s played 44 offensive snaps so far in the Steelers first two preseason games in addition to 18 total special teams snaps. It’s worth noting that Tucker enters the Steelers third preseason game as the team leader in special team tackles with 3.
Against the Titans on Saturday, Tucker could receive a pretty good amount of playing time and potentially as a member of the second-team offense. At worst, he will play with the third-teamers in the second half. Additionally, Tucker figures to get quite a bit of burn on special teams again on Saturday and especially as a punt coverage participant.
Tucker really needs a strong showing in the Steelers final two preseason games if he wants a legitimate shot at making the 53-man roster this year as either a No. 5 or No. 6 wide receiver. The Steelers will keep at least five total wide receivers this year and four of those spots are already seemingly accounted for.
Watch how Tucker is used Saturday against the Titans and that includes where all he lines up at. The Steelers like their wide receivers to play all three spots and it’s important that Tucker shows he can do that in the final two preseason games.