The Pittsburgh Steelers entered training camp with a number of holes remaining on their roster. A majority of these positions were addressed by the team during the 2021 NFL Draft. However, the Steelers’ history with playing their rookies right away is spotty at best. To put it simply, if you're a rookie, don't be prepared to play much in your first season. But with a salary cap crunch, and a roster needing to be re-tooled on the fly, the Steelers will be forced to call upon their first year players more than ever before.
5 from Steelers— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) July 25, 2021
1) Najee Harris is CONSTANTLY working. Noticeable the time he's spending—every down minute—with coaches. At 230, he's flashing as a receiver too.
2) TE Pat Freiermuth was a monster Saturday. Catches everything. The rookie's trending towards a real role.
This was reflected in the Steelers initial depth chart release. In it Najee Harris was listed as a starter, Kendrick Green, and Pat Freiermuth were listed as primary back-ups, and the rest of the class are competing with teammates for both playing time and a chance to climb the depth chart. Check out the entire chart at the link below.
Early reports from training camp state that a healthy Kendrick Green is receiving the bulk of the starting center snaps. Not to mention Pat Freiermuth has been the star of the early portion of camp, making several highlight real plays which caught the eye of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. Even Dan Moore Jr. has shown a nasty streak not previously seen before getting into spirited fights, which is to be expected this time of year. Even the retirement of Vince Williams has opened the door for another rookie in Buddy Johnson who could climb to be the Steelers primary backup at inside linebacker before the time training camp concludes.
3) Obviously, the big ? is on the OL, and rookies Dan Moore and Kendrick Green could well wind up being answers at C and LT.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) July 25, 2021
4) Corner's another spot to be sorted out—But Cam Sutton's inside/out versatility will help, with Antoine Brooks and Arthur Maulet fighting for snaps.
Najee Harris is still of course the star of the show, where he has flashed his work-ethic, and freakish athletic ability. The rookie running back has been pulling off hand stands in stretching line, shown his ability to catch passes out of the backfield, and, once again, being reported to be studying the game like crazy when he’s off the field.
The Steelers need a huge effort from this rookie class to remain a contender in 2021 and maintain the Steelers’ usual level of success heading into the future. But early returns suggest the Steelers have acquired a very nice draft class for themselves. It wouldn't surprise me to see the majority of these players in some sort of difference making role before the 2021 regular season concludes.
But what do you think? How important is it for the Steelers to get a huge impact out of their rookies? Does the early positive news coming out of training camp give you any hope? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.