NFL Training Camps: Pittsburgh Steelers Rookie Watch


The Pittsburgh Steelers are counting on several rookies to help them get over the hump and back to the Super Bowl.

For most of last year, the Pittsburgh Steelers struggled to generate consistent pressure on the quarterback. The main pass-rushing threat was the aging James Harrison. Things changed a little in the playoffs when Bud Dupree caught fire.

However, Dupree has been injury prone and it’s uncertain that he can sustain the success he showed in the playoffs. This is why the Steelers used their 1st round pick to grab the versatile T.J. Watt.

He projects as an outside linebacker in the Steelers system and will be counted on to create pressure. Watt’s is likely looking at starting the season as a rotational piece who comes in to give Harrison a breather.

However, he has experience lining up at inside linebacker and blitzing from that position. Watt also does a solid job holding up in coverage. The Steelers will find a way to work him into the action.

Pittsburgh’s defense should also get some help from cornerback Cam Sutton. He’s a smaller cornerback who projects as a slot corner. It’s his excellent movement skills and ability to stay in-phase with is target that makes him fit.

JuJu Smith-Schuster is in a training camp battle with Sammie Coates, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Eli Rogers and Justin Hunter for playing time. Smith-Schuster is guaranteed a roster spot based on his draft status, but will have to earn snaps.

James Connor is in the mix to get touches as the backup to Le’Veon Bell. The Steelers really don’t  have an established backup on the roster. Connor isn’t the quickest player but has good size and runs with power.

Overall, the Steelers are mainly counting on Watt to be the team’s main rookie contributor.