The Pittsburgh Steelers are now training camp, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.
Even training camp will look much different from the norm, and a big part of that will be the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. There will be no preseason played in 2020, so the first time the Steelers take the field in 2020 will be for the season opener against the New York Giants.
Before we get there, however, there are a number of issues that are outstanding on this team, and this year’s edition of training camp will not provide the level of thoroughness that teams are normally used to in trying to answer those questions.
Questions like, what is the starting offensive line going to look like? Will it include Zach Banner or Chukwuma Okorafor? Who will be the primary nose tackle? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.
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: Who are the young defensive tackles that Keith Butler mentioned liking?
When Keith Butler talked to reporters a week or so ago, being asked questions about the defensive line, he alluded to some young players in the group multiple times that he would not mention specifically by name that the team was looking at.
The second time he mentioned them, he specifically said that he wouldn’t say who they were because he didn’t want people to know about them, the obvious implication being that he was worried that they would not make the cut and would have to clear waivers to stick to the practice squad.
Of course, there aren’t a ton of options as to whom it could be. The two best candidates, I would imagine, are Henry Mondeaux and Carlos Davis. The former was on the practice squad all of last season after having a good camp and preseason. The latter is a rookie seventh-round pick who has some athleticism.
The other two potential names are Calvin Taylor, a rookie college free agent who is massive at 6’9” out of Kentucky, and Cavon Walker, a Maryland alum who did well for himself while he was in the XFL earlier this year and signed just before the draft.
The only other possibility is Isaiah Buggs, but I would imagine that’s too obvious and his roster spot is pretty locked in as the number six guy. He was on the team all of last year and logged about 75 or so snaps.