Yesterday, BTSC highlighted five players on defense to look for on Friday as the Steelers play their first preseason game of 2017 and many a man fights for his football life. Today, we switch to offense. While any player could emerge, here are five that we will be anxious to see in action.
No. 39 RB Terrell Watson
A veteran of nine carries and a TD with Philadelphia, Watson was impressive scoring on three goal line plays on Sunday. Mike Tomlin was impressed with Watson's downhill-running style. The coach nicknamed the Azusa Pacific product "the Nightmare" after fabled AP alum Christian Okoye, "the Nigerian Nightmare". At 6'1" and 240 pounds, Watson could be an intriguing dark horse. With James Conner in the picture and Brandon Brown-Dukes, Trey Williams, Fitzgerald Toussaint and Knile Davis all vying for spots behind Le’Veon Bell..."the Nightmare" needs to be lights out under the spotlight.
No. 5 QB Joshua Dobbs
The Steelers don't typically start a rookie QB in the first preseason game. But with no reason to risk injury to Ben Roethlisberger and with Landry Jones banged up, Dobbs and Bart Houston will see a lot of action behind center. However, Dobbs has never taken a snap under center, only in shotgun running the spread. Dobbs is an intelligent and physical QB. This is a great audition for Dobbs to throw his hat in the ring and shows how he can adapt as a possible QB2 to Ben.
No. 65 OT Jerald Hawkins
Hawkins was reported to be having a fine rookie camp in 2016 until suffering a shoulder injury last preseason. The Steelers thought enough of Hawkins to protect him on IR. No. 65 was known in college as a punishing run-blocker. Possibly seeing time at both tackle spots, his continuing to support the run well and improved pass blocking would bode well for Hawkins. He has the potential to be a future starter. He has sat out of some practices this week, but he should see time on Friday.
No. 19 WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
After an early-camp ankle woe, JJSS has coaches smiling in drills. Back in April, some fans complained about a WR going so high to Pittsburgh. But No. 19 could go a long way to silencing those critics quickly by showing off what he can do against New York. It doesn't hurt that the USC standout has been getting mentored by arguably the best blocking WR ever...Hines Ward. If Smith-Schuster pans out, his addition could be to AB, Martavis, Hunter and Rogers could give Pittsburgh the most productive pass-catching stable in the game. It all starts Friday.
No. 80 TE Jake McGee
Unfortunately Pitt's Scott Orndoff sustained injury and was waived in camp. It cleared room for Jake McGee. McGee is known as a better receiver than blocker and may have trouble cracking a roster that includes Jesse James, David Johnson and Xavier Grimble. But I want to see what he can do. He may be a practice squad guy that gets a chance due to injury. Expect McGee to see a good bit of action against the Giants.
Some other offensive players of note to focus on Friday are No. 87 TE Phazahn Odom, No. 71 OT Matt Feiler, No. 69 OT Brian Mihalik, No. 34 RB Knile Davis, No. 11 WR Justin Hunter, No. 13 WR Canaan Severin, No. 35 RB Trey Williams and No. 49 LS Colin Holba.