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Depth Chart Analysis: The Before it Matters Edition

A lot can change very quickly with a depth chart and this first depth chart in particular does not carry a whole lot of meaning towards who will actually make the team since the Steelers have not practiced with pads on yet. Despite this, I decided to engage in a little harmless speculation at this point. Much of this first depth chart revolves around giving the veterans their due and seems designed to show that the rookies must earn their place with the team. Rookies are added to the end of the rotation and must climb their way up to supplant the entrenched veterans. The starters consist mainly of veterans that are familiar and have earned their starting spot with their play over the years. In order to glean some small bit of information from this paper, I will mostly focus on the exceptions to these rules.

Offense

The Starters

The only 2 positions that seem to catch the eye as far as the starters are concerned are RB and TE. The team currently has Matt Spaeth listed ahead of David Paulson. This is not completely surprising to me due to Paulson being a second year undrafted player and Spaeth's previous time with the Steelers. Still it bears mentioning, even if the Steelers will more than likely switch them depending whether they want a receiving TE or a blocking one. The RB is slightly more interesting as Redman opens camp as the starter. While I would not even take this to mean he has an edge on the other running backs, it does mean that he will get a fair shake at proving he deserves the starting position.

The Rookies

Markus Wheaton starts off ahead of David Gilreath. This would not be that much of a surprise if you have bought into the slightest amount of the hype surrounding the Steelers third-round pick. He rests behind Plaxico Burress as well as most likely Jerricho Cotchery, with both veterans being listed as the first off the bench behind Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown respectively. In some ways, this could be seen as more of as statement to Gilreath than anything else, but it also reinforces some of the faith being displayed in Wheaton. This is notable in contrast to the placement of Le'veon Bell (just ahead of Curtis McNeal) and Landry Jones at the end of the depth chart. While the odds are that Wheaton, Jones, and Bell will all make the team (with Bell getting at least some field time), my near baseless speculation leads me to believe that Wheaton has been marked for fast movement up the depth chart ladder.

Defense

The Starters

As their aren't really any surprises with the starters on the defense, I'll skip right to the rookies positioning.

The Rookies

Jarvis Jones starts off camp ahead of Adrian Robinson. I believe this is another way of passively applying more pressure on Jason Worilds. While it was always a possibility that Worilds could be overtaken by the undrafted second year player, I think it sends a louder message putting the first round draft pick right at his heels. The only other surprise would be Vince Williams and Terence Garvin's placement ahead of Brian Rolle and Kion Wilson. Its possible that this is to motivate Rolle and Wilson with neither having played for the Steelers before or been able to prove themselves with other teams.

Steelers Depth Chart: https://twitter.com/SteelersPRBurt/status/361622445624524800/photo/1

This depth chart is a far cry from the finalized version and everybody on the chart will have a chance to make the roster as well as a name for themselves. I would expect a lot of change from positions that have a competitive battle for them such as at RB or the back-up OLB. But with contact around the corner, very few positions should be considered completely safe

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