The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books, and it ended in spectacular fashion—though the wrong kind of spectacular—in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.
Since then, they have lost several players in free agency who were key members of the offense and defense, and multiple starters retired, as well. They made few notable additions in free agency, and are banking on contributions on offense from their rookies, as well as perhaps a last ride for Ben Roethlisberger.
The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions, and right now, they lack answers. They know that they have Roethlisberger for one more year, but was that even the right decision? How successful can Najee Harris be behind a questionable offensive line? What kind of changes can Matt Canada and Adrian Klemm bring to the offense? And how can the defense retain the status quote with the losses of Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Mike Hilton?
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, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all of their uncertainty.
Question: Has anybody stood out during rookie minicamp?
At least from an outsider’s point of view, the most interesting thing to come out of rookie minicamp is whether or not any player stood out in a positive way during the short session, particularly if it is a player who was not drafted. It’s not uncommon for tryout players to earn a contract to the 90-man roster, though given this year’s limitations, that may be unlikely.
The Steelers did have a noteworthy crop of college free agent signings this year, however, and I would imagine that there are a lot of fans interested in knowing how a player like defensive back Shakur Brown might have fared during his first taste of NFL action, even if it is coming exclusively against rookies and first-year players.
Obviously, you want to hear that your top draft picks are looking the part, but that is far less urgent at this time of year. Maurkice Pouncey didn’t shine during his first seconds on the practice field, but it didn’t take him long to warm up to the competition level and was in the starting lineup by mandatory minicamp, if memory serves.
This period of time is more for those players who are under the radar, when talking about what interests us. How did the Jones brothers, Jarron and Jamir, look? How about Penn State’s Lamont Wade? Cornerback Stephen Denmark is a big-bodied prospect for the position, and they could certainly use depth there.