Every year it happens: players’ potential draw attention and fans can’t wait to see what they do in training camp. Sometimes they exceed our expectations. Other times they become a non-factor. So which “sleepers” are most likely to push for a spot on the Steelers in 2019? Here are a few names who may draw some discussion during training camp.
Devlin Hodges (QB)
After beating out Brogan Roback in rookie minicamp to earn the fourth QB spot on the Steelers, Hodges already shows he’s willing to fight for a position. Setting the FCS record for passing yards at Samford in 2018 (14,584 yards), Hodges is also auditioning for 31 other teams this preseason.
While some believe the Steelers could keep Hodges on the practice squad, it’s difficult enough to get significant playing time to a third quarterback let alone a fourth. The Steelers would be much wiser to keep a player in a position which could benefit them during practice. But Hodges could show he deserves to be in the top three, leaving another player such as Josh Dobbs on the trading block.
Trevor Wood (TE/LS)
While some were unsure if Wood was signed to play tight end or long snapper, it appears he has been doing both during off-season activities. An undrafted free agent out of Texas, Wood started his college career in Arizona before transferring as a graduate student. As for his college statistics, Wood only caught 11 total passes with one touchdown in four years.
With talk of other players showing position versatility, Wood has a chance to make the team with either position. With tight end depth being questionable, anyone playing the position in camp for the Steelers has a legitimate chance to turn some heads.
Johnny Holton (WR)
Several weeks ago I wrote an article about how Johnny Holton is the forgotten Steelers free agent signing. With three years of NFL experience under his belt, last season Holton spent all but one game on the Oakland Raiders’ practice squad after being on the 53-man roster his first two years. In all, Holton has 11 receptions, 252 yards, and three touchdowns in his NFL career.
While making the roster strictly as a receiver will be an uphill battle, Holton brings a special teams quality the other Steelers receiver do not. Logging significant special teams snaps (not as a returner) in Oakland, Holton would be the prime candidate to win the “special teams/receiver” spot occupied by Darius Heyward-Bey in years past if the Steelers choose to keep such a position.
Lavon Hooks (DT)
After being just a camp body for the Green Bay Packers in 2015 and the Steelers in 2016, Hooks has spent the last two seasons on the Steelers practice squad. Since the Steelers have decided to keep him the entire season for two straight years, they obviously see some potential.
Although he continues to hang around, many people feel Daniel McCullers’ time with the Steelers could be short-lived. If so, this opens up a spot along the defensive line assuming Isaiah Buggs shows enough to make the team. If not, there could even be two openings.
Tuzar Skipper (OLB)
Yet another Steelers player out of the MAC, Skipper is hoping to join Ola Adeniyi as an undrafted linebacker out of Toledo who makes the 53-man roster. Not only was Skipper not drafted, he was not signed as a free agent until his second tryout. Skipper was unsigned out of Kansas City’s rookie minicamp before coming to Pittsburgh and earning a trip to Latrobe.
Behind T.J. Watt, Bud Dupree, and the newly re-signed Anthony Chickillo, the Steelers OLB depth is missing the pedigree factor. With an undrafted free agent and a sixth round rookie as the front runners to fill out the depth chart, Skipper could take advantage if anyone should falter.
P.J. Locke (S)
With the Steelers not addressing the safety position in either free agency or the draft, the undrafted free agent out of Texas has a chance to make a splash. Locke reportedly had numerous offers immediately after the draft and took his time and chose the Steelers.
Although he isn’t the only undrafted free agent safety in the mix, the Steelers are in need of depth behind Sean Davis and Terrell Edmunds. Anyone who flashes in the preseason will immediately be in the mix, and Locke had as good of a chance as anyone.
Matthew Wright (K)
Breaking records at the University of Central Florida, Wright chose to come back to his home state and signed with the Steelers. But Wright’s chances of making the team are less about him and more about Chris Boswell.
In order to have a shot to be the Steelers kicker, Wright has to have two things happen: he must over-perform while Boswell struggles. If the Steelers have doubts about Boswell bouncing back, Wright could sneak his way into a job.
So what do you think? Do any of these players have a chance to make the roster? Or is there someone else you think has an edge? Feel free to vote in the poll and leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Which Steelers "sleeper" has the best chance to make the final roster?
This poll is closed
QB Delvin Hodges
TE/LS Trevor Wood
WR Johnny Holton
DT Lavon Hooks
OLB Tuzar Skipper
S P.J. Locke
K Matthew Wright