Typically each July, the Pittsburgh Steelers hold their annual training camp at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, but this year will different from years past.
In a year which has defined by changes due the COVID-19 epidemic, this year's training camp will not take place at its traditional spot. Considering the Steelers busy offseason, which has included addition from this year's rookie class, several XFL alums and free agents, a change of venue should not take away from the intrigue of this year's training camp. More than in recent memory, there is urgency for this Steelers to assemble the best team possible, not only to make the playoffs, but to potentially make it to this year's Superbowl.
With training camp over a month away, here are some potential outcomes involving certain players on the roster, that could materialize at the end of this year's event.
Cameron Sutton As Starting Cornerback
If last year's performance in week six against the Los Angeles Chargers was an indication, fourth-year cornerback Cameron Sutton is very much capable of becoming a full-time starter on defense. Unfortunately for the Sutton, the obstacle that has stood in his way has been the depth at the position. Last season, the Steelers proved to have one of the best secondary units, led by safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, cornerback Joe Haden, and cornerback Steven Nelson. Yet, Sutton possesses the type of position versatility, few in the secondary possesses. Not only can Sutton play both outside and in the slot, he is very capable of playing the safety position if necessary. With the departure of former first-round pick Artie Burns Jr. and uncertainty of defensive Mike Hilton's status with the team, the window of opportunity has finally open for Sutton to take over as a starter at defensive back.
Calvin Taylor Jr. Will Make The Active Roster
It is one thing to have size, it is another to have athleticism; when a player has both attributes, he generally stands out. At 6'9 and over 311 lbs, Calvin Taylor Jr. stood out in a big way last year for the Kentucky Wildcats, as he posted a career highs in sacks with 8.5, and tackles for loss with 9.5. Prior to this year's NFL draft, Taylor Jr. was highly regarded for his natural strength and agility deriving from his basketball background. Yet the factor in all this is timing. As it stands, the Steelers have little depth at defensive line; depth that became even more vulnerable with the departure of Javon Hargrave. Considering veteran lineman Cameron Heyward is in the final year of his contract, and the injury history of Stephon Tuitt, the Steelers are in dire need of capable players along their defensive line. Taylor Jr. should be able to impress enough with his skillset to earn a position on the roster.
J.T Barrett Should Emerge As Third-String Quarterback
It is easy for many to forget about a quarterback like J.T. Barrett, considering he went undrafted out of Ohio State in 2018. What cannot be denied is the fact that he is the most accomplished, collegiate quarterback on the Steelers roster next to Ben Roethlisberger. With the Buckeyes, he set school records for passing yards, touchdowns in a season, completions in a season, as well as total yards in a season. In addition to being First Team All-Big Ten three times, he was also named Third Team All-American in 2014 and a National Champion in 2015. With his accomplishments noted, his mobility and ability to make timely throws are attributes that have defined him as a player. Though Devlin Hodges did an admirable job as starting quarterback last season, when Mason Rudolph was knocked out of the lineup with a concussion, courtesy of Earl Thomas of the Baltimore Ravens; his limitations were exposed during the latter part of the season, which ultimately came back to haunt the offensive unit. As it stands, Rudolph should be the team's backup quarterback heading into this upcoming season. In terms of Hodges, one should not be too comfortable with the idea of him as their third-string backup.