The Pittsburgh Steelers are now in Latrobe at Saint Vincent College, where they have held their training camp sessions since 1966. While the vast majority of the legwork of building the 90-man roster is done, there is always some fine tinkering to do. Now it’s time to figure out who is worthy of a roster spot, and what their role will be.
The team made some bold moves this offseason and in some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago. That would especially be the case at wide receiver and inside linebacker, where they’re bound to have new starters.
How will those position groups sort themselves out? How will the young players advance into their expected roles? Will the new coaches be up to the task? Who is looking good in practice? Who is sitting out due to injury?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Which non-former Steelers draft pick is most likely to make a 53-man roster for the first time this season?
There are only a couple hundred draft picks to go around every year, with many, perhaps most teams ending up signing as many or more college free agent rookies. They also sign a number of Reserve/Future players who are no longer rookies, but have never been on rosters before. Some will have been draft picks who were released and signed to the practice squad, but most will be from other teams or non-draft picks from the practice squad.
Looking at the Steelers’ current 53-man roster, which player or players is most likely to make a 53-man roster for the first time as a non-draft pick by the team, whether they were rookies or otherwise?
One of the most obvious choices would be Kameron Kelly, who has been running second-team at safety and even some in the slot. He was signed as a former AAF player, originally with Dallas last year, but never made the team.
Another candidate might be Patrick Morris, a 2018 college free agent who was on the practice squad last year, or 2019 rookie Fred Johnson. Tuzar Skipper would be a nice thought, but he’s not making it without more work on special teams.
As always when such questions arise, I’m going to put the name of Devlin Hodges out there, because if I don’t, I will be chased by torchlight off of a bridge. The rookie college free agent does have a shot at making the team, but he has to move fast, and he also likely needs help in the form of Joshua Dobbs struggling. If he sees any playing time ahead of Dobbs, then you know we’re having a serious conversation.