Training camp is less than ten days away with player reporting to Latrobe, PA on July 26 with the first practice scheduled on July 27 which will be open to the public. While several positions like running back and outside linebacker are all-but-assured locked in terms of the starters entrenched in their respective spots, there figures to be a fair about of competition at various spots on the roster.
The position battle that is drawing the most headlines is the QB position. Understandably so, seeing as the likes of Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph, and Kenny Pickett will all be competing in training camp practices as well as in preseason action to see who becomes the next starting QB for the Pittsburgh Steelers now that Ben Roethlisberger has officially retired this offseason.
Competitions will be occurring at the backup RB and WR positions with Najee Harris, Diontae Johnson, and Chase Claypool likely entrenched as the starters. Pittsburgh will try and evaluate who will be the primary backup RB behind Harris and who will be the team’s starting slot receiver. Will George Pickens start in three WR sets and who of Anthony Miller, Miles Boykin, and Gunner Olszewski will make the final roster?
Kevin Dotson and Kendrick Green figure to battle it out for the LG guard spot along the offensive line and a competition between Chris Wormley and Larry Ogunjobi will likely occur to see who starts alongside Cam Heyward and Tyson Alualu in Pittsburgh’s base 3-4 defense. While the starters at OLB are set in stone, the backup spots are very much up for grabs with Genard Avery, Derrek Tuszka, Tuzar Skipper, T.D. Moultry, and Tyree Johnson all fighting for a couple roster spots. The same goes for backup ILB with Robert Spillane likely #3 and the fourth and fifth spots up for grabs by Marcus Allen Ulysees Gilbert III, Buddy Johnson, and Mark Robinson.
The starting CB battle will be one to watch with Cam Sutton, Ahkello Witherspoon and Levi Wallace all jostling for the two spots in Pittsburgh’s base defense. The backup spot will also be a dog fight with Justin Layne, James Pierre, Arthur Maulet, and Tre Norwood all figuratively duking it out. Norwood and Maulet also figure to be in Pittsburgh’s battle for the slot CB position alongside Damontae Kazee who signed with the squad this offseason. Should Sutton take nickel snaps away from these players if Wallace and Witherspoon start on the outside, those three DBs could be fighting for the dime role in Pittsburgh’s sub package defense.
While free safety is set with Minkah Fitzpatrick inked to a new contract this offseason, there remains speculation as to whether Kazee may push Terrell Edmunds for snaps at the other safety spot in 2022. Edmunds was re-signed by Pittsburgh this spring, but he sat out on the open market for weeks, coming back to the team on a cheap one-year pact. Kazee signed a similar contract right after the draft concluded and is more proven in coverage than Edmunds, potentially being a guy that will mix in-and-out with the fifth-year safety depending on the defensive package on the field.
What position battle are you most exacted to watch and read up on once training camp begins? Who do you see winning the battles listed above and what is your reasoning? Do you foresee any upsets occurring that we may not expect? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below and thanks again for reading!