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Most Intriguing Pittsburgh Steelers Position Battles

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a few spots up for grabs that will be determined through position battles at training camp.
Steelers Position Battles

The Pittsburgh Steelers did a good job of filling some key holes on their roster this offseason, but a lackluster job at other positions of need. With a month remaining until the start of training camp, it’s apparent who will be the starter at most positions. There are a few spots up for grabs on the Steelers roster that will be settled with old-fashioned position battles at training camp. Here are some of the key Steelers position battles to watch when training camp begins.

Most Intriguing Steelers Position Battles to Watch

Complete Chaos at Wide Receiver

The biggest mistake of the Steelers offseason (to this point) has been their handling of the wide receiver position. They traded away Diontae Johnson and haven’t done much to replace him. Their wide receiver room consists of George Pickens and a lot of wide receivers that would be the number four receiving option on most teams. For now, their top options behind Pickens are Van Jefferson, rookie Roman Wilson, and burner Calvin Austin III.

Jefferson is the frontrunner for the WR2 position simply due to his lack of competition. While Wilson and especially Austin have received high praise so far this offseason, they are more suited to play in the slot than on the boundary opposite of Pickens. Wilson is a good route runner and physical blocker who’s good with the ball in his hands. Austin, on the other hand, hasn’t shown much beyond his straight line speed.

Even on a team who plans to run the ball at a high rate, the Steelers will want to do better than Jefferson, Wilson, or Austin as WR2. There is still time for a trade to be made, and Pittsburgh should remain active in that market.

Linebacker Rotation To Be Determined

Last year, the Steelers enjoyed quality linebacker play before their group was decimated by injuries. This offseason, they addressed the position in a big way. They signed Patrick Queen to a huge contract and drafted Payton Wilson in the third round of the draft. Pittsburgh returns Elandon Roberts from last year, who was a standout performer when his number was called after several teammates suffered season-ending injuries. One of those teammates was Cole Holcomb, whose health still remains a question mark, although he seems to be trending in the right direction.

Queen is the clear top linebacker on the team, but behind him, there are several ways the group could shake out. Entering training camp, Roberts will likely be considered number two in the pecking order. Holcomb will have a chance to change that when he is fully healthy. Before he tore his ACL last year, he was the Steelers best linebacker. And then there’s Wilson, who may have the highest ceiling in the group. With his high-end athleticism, Wilson has a chance to be an every down player.

They have many options, but there’s no doubt that Pittsburgh will get all four of these players their fair share of snaps. Each one offers a different skillset that, when paired with each other, form a complete group of linebackers.

The Rest

There are a couple of other less consequential Steelers position battles to watch. If Cameron Sutton is suspended by the NFL, the Steelers will need to find a slot cornerback. That battle will be between Josiah Scott and undrafted rookie Beanie Bishop. When Sutton is available, though, he will be the starter at slot corner, and Scott or Bishop will fall into a rotational role.

Keep an eye on the battle for the final tight end spot between MyCole Pruitt and Rodney Williams. Pruitt followed Arthur Smith to Pittsburgh and would be a key contributor as a run blocker. The Steelers already have Darnell Washington as a strong run-blocking tight end, though. They could elect to keep Williams on the roster due to his production on special teams in 2023.

Finally, there is what some perceive to be a quarterback battle. That wasn’t discussed here simply because it seems all but decided. It is overwhelmingly likely that Russell Wilson will be the starter in Week 1. Justin Fields could get his chance if he struggles, but he will almost certainly be the backup to start the season.

Main Image: Philip G. Pavely – USA Today Sports


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