With the Hall of Fame game approaching the BTSC team is here to give you their picks for the player they are most excited to see take the field in Canton Ohio. While Ben Roethlisberger will join many of the Steelers best known players on the sideline, the hall of fame game will be the first chance many new faces and returning depth players will have to show Steeler fans what they can do. Here are our thoughts on the players to look for.
Dave Schofield: Kendrick Green
Thanks to my nephew Kyle, a new nickname has been given as “Quadrick Green.” If you’re unsure why Green would get this nickname, check out any coverage from Tuesday’s practice at Heinz Field. The Steelers third-round rookie is already in line to start the Hall of Fame Game and Steelers Nation wants to know how close he is to grabbing the starting role for the 2021 season. Until the pads come on, we’ll never truly know what Green has to offer. Since he’s getting the start, we should see Green matched up against the best players who will appear on the other side of the ball.
Big Bro Scho: James Pierre
There has been plenty of talk that Pierre could challenge Cam Sutton for the starting spot opposite of Joe Hadden. We got a very small sample size from Pierre last season, but what we got looked VERY good. He should get plenty of opportunities this preseason to show the coaching staff exactly what he can do. I really like his size and speed and am excited to see more of what he has to offer this secondary.
Bryan Anthony Davis: Isaiah McKoy
In a college season that was only four games, Kent State’s McKoy had 25 receptions for 455 yards, an 18.2 yard average, and five touchdowns in 2020. Isaiah is big at 6’2” and is a fast, deep threat that can add to an already talented stable. I want to see if McKoy can thrive in the NFL and make things even more interesting in Pittsburgh.
K.T. Smith: Antoine Brooks
The Steelers need someone to step up and claim Mike Hilton’s role in the nickel. Brooks is being given a shot to do it. Like Hilton, he was a great tackler and aggressive blitzer coming out of college. I’m excited to see how he looks.
Shannon White: Buddy Johnson
Buddy Johnson is a more athletic run thumping inside linebacker in the mold of Vince Williams. He is a hard hitting Buck linebacker who may very well be Robert Spillane's backup in this his rookie season. He has been lauded for his tackling and leadership qualities, and his solid athleticism suggest he should improve in pass coverage through hardwork and improved coaching. Beyond excited to watch him in the Black and Gold.
Michael Beck: Pat Freiermuth
it’s been a very long time since the Steelers have had a tight end with the athletic and receiving ability of Freiermuth’s. If this kid plays as well as he’s reportedly done at training camp he may revolutionize the Steelers offense.
Andrew Wilbar: Anthony McFarland
After an unproductive rookie year behind a struggling offensive line, McFarland will be hungry to prove doubters wrong. He will obviously be running behind the backup linemen, but with his former college coach Matt Canada running the offense, I expect McFarland’s skill set to be utilized much better in year two. Despite the vanilla play calling we will see in the Hall of Fame game, I am excited to see McFarland have an opportunity to shine.
Anthony Defeo: Quincy Roche
Roche, selected in the sixth round out of Miami in the 2021 NFL Draft, was super productive in college. He had 30.5 career sacks in four years—including 26 in three seasons at Temple before transferring to Miami in 2020. Why was he drafted so low? If he bucks the odds and plays above his draft pedigree, that could bode well for the Steelers and their depth at outside linebacker—at the very least. Roche figures to go up against players at his level or lower during the preseason. Will he dominate? Will he struggle? I’m excited to find out.
Jeff Hartman: Dwayne Haskins
While everyone chooses rookies or undrafted players, I am excited to see what the team has in Haskins. Could he be the next quarterback for the Steelers? Some scream yes, while others scream no. How will we ever know? By watching him play this preseason and seeing if he is the first round pick, or a dud who couldn’t survive in Washington. For all those reasons, and many more, I am excited to see Haskins play in the black and gold for the first time vs. Dallas.
Be sure to follow BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.