The Pittsburgh Steelers have been subject to some controversy this offseason. Martavis Bryant is suspended for the entire season, Le’Veon Bell is gone for the first 4 games, and Antonio Brown is vastly underpaid looking for a new deal. What can we expect from the Steelers heading into training camp?
3 Position Battles To Watch:
- Outside Linebacker: James Harrison vs. Jarvis Jones vs. Anthony Chickillo
Bud Dupree has one side locked down leaving the other up for grabs. Harrison is far past his prime and is probably best suited for complementary work. Jarvis Jones has been a disappointment since being drafted in the first round in 2013 recording 5 sacks in 3 years. Chickillo is a guy I have my eyes on who I really liked coming out of Miami last year. He is down from 285 to 255 this season making him a much better fit for the position. Pittsburgh also has a lot of options at middle linebacker that could play a role such as Arthur Moates, Tyler Matekevich, and Vince Williams.
2. Wide Receiver: Markus Wheaton vs. Darius Heyward-Bey vs. Sammie Coates
Someone is going to step up in Martavis Bryant’s absence. Wheaton probably gets the chance to start with Heyward-Bey roaming in the slot. I expect Coates to get some looks in deep ball situations but he has some questionable hands.
3. Kicker: Chris Boswell vs. Shaun Suisham
Kickers are people too! Suisham has been with the Steelers since 2011 but torn his ACL during the 2015 season. That opened the door for Boswell who performed admirably last season. Given Boswell’s age and contract he probably will be the guy unless Suisham heavily outperforms him during the preseason.
Ready To Breakout: Ladarius Green
Steeler fans will forget about Heath Miller very shortly once they see Ladarius Green take the field. Green has been groomed in San Diego and learned from one of the best in Antonio Gates. The German native will be a force in the red zone adding another weapon to an already dangerous offense.
Fantasy Sleeper: DeAngelo Williams
Green probably applies here to, but Williams works since Le’Veon Bell will be suspended for 4 weeks. Williams performed up to par in Bell’s absence a year ago and should do the same in weeks 1-4.
Rookie To Watch: Javon Hargrave
General manager Kevin Colbert often times leaves me shaking my head knowing the Steelers got themselves another steal on draft day year after year. This year that man happens to be Javon Hargrave who will add a dominating presence to an already good defensive line. Hargrave caught my eye at the East-West Shrine game.
Pittsburgh will likely make the playoffs again in 2016 sporting a great roster. Anytime you have a quarterback like Big Ben, good things tend to happen.