The offseason workouts will come to a close this week when the Pittsburgh Steelers wrap up their mandatory minicamp on Thursday. The three day workouts are mandatory, unlike Organized Team Activities (OTAs), and while it is still just ‘football in shorts’ it is the last football we will have until the team reports to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA for their annual training camp.
With that said, even though there won’t be any hitting during the three minicamp workouts, it doesn’t mean there can’t be aspects of the team to keep an eye on. Therefore, I give you five story lines to keep an eye on from Tuesday to Thursday as we take in the last ounce of football before the dog days of summer.
Mason Rudolph vs. Joshua Dobbs
This battle won’t be settled until training camp, but don’t think the coaches feel the same way. They are watching every rep, every pass and every mistake. You can expect the two quarterbacks to split time with the first team while Ben Roethlisberger rests, but what these two young signal callers do with those reps will be worth noting.
Devin Bush and the other ILBs
Will Devin Bush start with the 1s from the start? Or will it be Mark Barron alongside Vince Williams with the team easing Bush into the rotation? Whatever happens during minicamp won’t necessarily means this is how the season will begin, but will speak volumes of how the coaching staff feel about the prized rookie early in the process.
Justin Layne’s spot
There are a lot of cornerbacks vying for a few positions on the roster. When you look at the depth chart, rookie Justin Layne will get a start on trying to be above players like Cameron Sutton, Brian Allen and Artie Burns on the depth chart to be the CB2 on the outside if Steven Nelson and/or Joe Haden were to not be available for whatever reason.
Three’s Company at Right Tackle
Just like who gets starter reps at the backup QB position, who see starting time at right tackle will be noteworthy. We all assume it will be Matt Feiler, but if Mike Tomlin is smart, and wants a genuine competition, he would start a different tackle every day. Feiler Day 1, Chukwuma Okorafor Day 2 and Jerald Hawkins on Day 3. I’ve never been so excited for an offensive line battle in my life...
This will be the first minicamp without Antonio Brown, and fans are itching to see who, and what, will take place without No. 84 on the field. Everyone knows what JuJu Smith-Schuster brings to the team, but Donte Moncrief, Diontae Johnson and to an extent James Washington remain relative unknowns. Who makes plays, who doesn’t and who sees time catching passes from Roethlisberger will be something to watch this week.