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: Will the third preseason game determine who is higher on the depth chart between Eli Rogers and Ryan Switzer (and possibly who makes the roster and who doesn’t)?
Neither Eli Rogers nor Ryan Switzer have played a great deal during the preseason so far, relatively speaking. This is not an oversight, nor is it a knock against them. Preseason opportunities are distributed based more on a need-to-know basis, and these two are more known commodities.
Because they are more known and established within the offense, they’ll see the bulk of their serious work in the third preseason game, during which Ben Roethlisberger figures to play at least a couple of drives, one would hope. Last week, Rogers started in the slot between JuJu Smith-Schuster and Donte Moncrief, for what it’s worth.
For a while, it’s been understood that the top three on the depth chart consists of Smith-Schuster, Moncrief, and James Washington, with rookie Diontae Johnson a lock to make the team, and likely one of Rogers or Switzer making the team as well, if not both.
If only one of them ends up being kept, that may largely be decided in the team’s next game, though the reality is it would probably take the fourth preseason game to have another player step up and take a roster spot away from one of them.
There have been some solid preseason performances in different capacities from Tevin Jones, Diontae Spencer, and Johnny Holton so far, but this could also come from another position. If they keep five wide receivers, they could keep an extra linebacker or safety, or somebody like Trey Edmunds for special teams purposes. Or a fourth tight end.