Pittsburgh Steelers Offensive Players to Watch in the Preseason

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With the first week of training camp in the books, several developments involving the Pittsburgh Steelers have taken place. Position battles, injuries, and plenty of other news have affected their 2016 season outlook. It is a good time to look at where this team is and who may be worth watching in the preseason at each position. Some jobs will be won and lost in the preseason, and anyone should know that attrition is needed to win a Super Bowl. To start, let’s look at the offense.

Pittsburgh Steelers Offensive Players to Watch in the Pre-Season

Quarterback

One of the easier positions to predict. The Steelers gave Landry Jones the number two spot before training camp. Bruce Gradkowski is the third quarterback and it is unlikely that he will win the backup job in the preseason. The name to watch is Dustin Vaughan. He and Jones will get the majority of the preseason time, and he looks like a lock to make the practice squad.

Running Back

The Le’Veon Bell news brings plenty of different side effects due to his off-field issues. On the other hand, he is participating in training camp, which is a great sign after his ACL injury last season. The Steelers hope that his suspension will be reduced, so only time will tell. In the meantime, it looks like the depth chart is forming as DeAngelo Williams, Fitzgerald Toussaint, and Daryl Richardson in that order for the first couple of games. Richardson will likely be left off of the 53-man after the Bell suspension.

Fullback

It is tough to see Roosevelt Nix losing his spot to David Johnson. Johnson will have to beat out the third tight end.

Wide Receiver

Eli Rogers is emerging and has been discussed around camp as a legitimate slot receiver. Markus Wheaton was the slot receiver last year and while he could shift to the outside this year, they also have faith in Sammie Coates in his second season. Coates has the highest upside but may be the rawest as well. Either way, the rotation and use of these three will be intriguing to watch as Wheaton enters a contract year.

Tight End

The Steelers waived Matt Spaeth, which had a couple effects. It bumps Jesse James up to second string tight end, which is right on the Steelers plan. However, Ladarius Green is still on the PUP list. While the Steelers are confident that he will be back to start the season, it would be more comforting to see him practice with the first team at least once. It puts pressure on James, who will see a lot of playing time this preseason. Xavier Grimble is another name to look out for. He will compete for a spot on the roster with David Johnson and he will get every chance to win the job in the next four games.

Offensive Line

It would be a surprise to see Ryan Harris win the left tackle job in the preseason. It is Alejandro Villanueva’s spot to lose. The names to watch at this unit are B.J. Finney and Chris Hubbard. Only one will make the team. Finney is a guard who can play center, and Hubbard is a guard who is a former tackle. Hubbard has played a little center, but at the moment Finney is the third center behind Maurkice Pouncey and Cody Wallace. With Jerold Hawkins drafted in the fourth round to be the fourth tackle, the Steelers may be looking for depth at center with their swing guard. 

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