It is the first preseason game. There is a certain amount of excitement which accompanies the first football game of the year, even if it is a meaningless exhibition. However, if you haven't been glued to the Pittsburgh Steelers training camp at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, but want to know who to keep an eye on in the game Friday night, we've got you covered.
Here are 5 defensive players to keep an eye on in the game at Heinz Field. Keep in mind the focus of this task was based on the players who will still see significant playing time despite it being the first preseason game.
Robert Golden - SS - No. 21
While most have been talking about Sean Davis, the rookie safety from the University of Maryland, it is Golden who will likely be starting the season alongside Mike Mitchell in the deep secondary, and he doesn't have much experience as a starter. After getting a 3-year contract before the season began, Golden will hope to add to his solid 2015 season by playing an inspired brand of football starting with the game Friday night.
Ross Cockrell - CB - No. 31
Cockrell was picked up just before the regular season in 2015 from the Buffalo Bills, and is enjoying a nice preseason with the Steelers -- his first in Pittsburgh. The Steelers' secondary is as thin as thin can get, and they will bank on Cockrell being a rock in the secondary alongside William Gay. He starts this journey against the Lions in Week 1 of the preseason.
Javon Hargrave - DT - No. 79
The rookie from South Carolina State has been a standout throughout the Steelers 2016 training camp. As he shows versatility in both position and style of play, Hargrave looks to prove he is more than capable of repeating his performance from college at the professional level. Hargrave, along with several other first year players, should see significant repetitions on Friday night, and fans should keep their eyes on No. 79 as he looks to make a great first impression to fans at Heinz Field.
Sean Davis - CB/S - No. 21
Davis' availability for the game might be up in the air as he has been icing a knee routinely throughout training camp, but if he does play he is a player everyone should be watching. Playing two positions, safety and cornerback, Davis will see time with the starting defense as the third cornerback on the field, and will likely be the second safety on the field after Robert Golden calls it a day. Davis has been lauded for his intelligence and conditioning. Both will be on display against the Lions Friday night.
Daniel McCullers - NT - No 93
As Hargrave has been turning heads at camp, McCullers has been trying to solidify himself as the pure nose tackle on the team. This mountain of a man still has a lot to prove heading into his 3rd NFL season. Despite his experience with the team, McCullers should see a lot of reps as the team will run a lot of base defensive looks, as well as give McCullers every opportunity to show he can be the nose tackle the team needs when they deploy their 3-4 base defense.
For all the information you could need heading into the Steelers vs. Lions preseason game, click HERE.