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 2021? Here are a few names who may draw some discussion during training camp and preseason games.
Shakur Brown (CB)
Probably the most hyped undrafted free agent of the 2021 class, Shakur Brown was believed to possibly be a draft pick on Day 3. Instead, he’s in Pittsburgh and fighting for one of the cornerback spots. We’ll see if the former Michigan State Spartan can find his way into a favorable spot on the depth chart.
Rico Bussey (WR)
It will be difficult for any wide receiver who was not on the Steelers roster last season to breakthrough in 2021. The most likely course of action would be to stand out so much the Steelers decide to keep an extra player. If going on reports so far early in training camp, Rico Bussey appears to be the most likely candidate. After three seasons at North Texas, Bussey played his final college season in Hawaii before signing with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent following the 2021 NFL draft. Although the practice squad seems to be more reasonable goal, it’s not out of the question for the Steelers to keep six wide receivers.
Mark Gilbert (CB)
The Steelers have thrown a lot of young players into the cornerback room and one of them could very likely grab a roster spot in 2021. Undrafted free agent Mark Gilbert out of Duke is one of those players the Steelers could hit on big time. After an amazing sophomore season in 2017, Gilbert suffered a major hip injury followed by a foot injury which tanked his draft stock. If Gilbert has truly recovered, the Steelers could have found Day 2 value as a UDFA.
Christian Kuntz (LS)
Seriously? A long snapper? Absolutely. The former Duquesne linebacker has now been with the Steelers in some fashion for the third straight year. Between being in camp in 2019 and on and off the practice squad in 2020, Kuntz has been buying time looking for an opportunity. By having an advantage on covering punts as a former linebacker, and the fact he could save $400k on the 2021 salary cap even after the dead money paid to Kameron Canaday, the Steelers could look at Kuntz as a realistic replacement if he can win the job.
Tegray Scales (LB)
Appearing in four games for the Steelers last season, Scales has as many regular-season games under his belt as Antoine Brooks Jr. A late addition to the practice squad in November of last season, Scales spent the 2019 preseason with the Steelers and was there emergency inside linebacker as injuries mounted in 2020. Although he’s buried on the depth chart, Scales is the type of player who could find his way onto the 53 if other players falter.
Lamont Wade (S)
Listed as a safety by the Steelers, Lamont Wade is a 2021 undrafted free agent out of Penn State who has experience playing throughout the secondary. As the Steelers continue to infuse the secondary with versatile players who can play multiple positions, Wade has just as good a shot as any of the other young secondary players fighting for a roster position. Add in the fact he played four years with the Nittany Lions, there are a number of Steelers fans who are really pulling for him.
So what do you think? Do any of these players have a chance to make the roster? Or do they have a much better spot landing on the expanded 16-man practice squad? 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 camp sleeper is most likely to make the Steelers’ 53-man roster in 2021?
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