The Pittsburgh Steelers have released their first depth chart of the 2019 regular season.
As is most cases with depth charts by the Steelers, there are things that are significant while other things are of little importance. Here are some interesting takeaways by position of what the depth chart could mean for certain players.
In the first depth chart, Devin Bush is not listed as the started but is instead is behind Mark Barron as the LILB. While it means Bush may not be on the field the first snap of the game in base defense, his playing time should not be affected by his place on the chart as he looks to be on the field in most sub packages. At the ROLB position, Vince Williams is listed as the starter with Tyler Matakevich as the first backup. Surprisingly, Ulysees Gilbert III is listed behind Matakevich rather than Bush which may be a significant placing when it comes to who could see defensive snaps, assuming Gilbert would even be active on game day.
While the depth chart at each position is’t overly important since certain players will back up multiple positions, the fact Mike Hilton is listed as the top nickel corner is an important spot. Interestingly enough, they chose to list Cameron Sutton as the back up nickel corner as his primary position. Although Sutton could also back up players at the other positions, it could be an indication he is closer to earning a position as the starter at nickel corner than anywhere else. Justin Layne is the back up to Joe Haden, but in reality Artie Burns or Cam Sutton would be called into action first if the situation would arise.
With only two receivers listed as starters, this is just about all that can be drawn from the depth chart. JuJu Smith-Schuster and Donte Moncrief are listed as the starters. Where the back ups were listed after this point is really insignificant since playing time will be determned by formation.
Ben Roethlisberger being listed as the starter was never in question, but the battle for the back-up quarterback was one of note during the preseason. Announcing it himself over the weekend, Mason Rudolph deservedly won the job over Joshua Dobbs for 2019. The most significant part of this depth chart comes down to snaps in practice and being active on game day. Rudolph will now look to get a helmet for the first time in a regular-season game on Sunday.
Although it was never officially announced, Matt Feiler is now the Steelers starting right tackle. What the depth chart does not answer is which player would be considered the “swing tackle” as the player who backs up both positions on game day. Zach Banner is listed as the next player behind Feiler at right tackle while Chukwuma Okorafor is listed behind Alejandro Villanueva on the left side. Which player get a helmet on game day will ultimately answer the question.
The biggest placement of note with the outside linebackers is where Olasunkanmi Adeniyi and Tuzar Skipper fell relative to each other. While Anthony Chickillo is listed behind T.J. Watt on the left side, it was Adeniyi who was first up behind Bud Dupree on the right. The importance of the Adeniyi-Skipper order will come down to who would be active if all players are healthy on game day
So what is your biggest takeaway from the Steelers first offical regular-season depth chart? As always, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below!