On last week's episode of The Scho Bro Show podcast, myself and Big Bro Scho (Rich) each came up with a list of five potential camp darlings for the 2022 season. As our lists rolled on, we did not have any repeat players to bring the grand total to 10 potential darlings.
To clarify what we mean by “camp darling,” it really comes down to players who are getting more discussion by Steelers’ fans than anything else. These players are not the superstar players, or even the starters. A player can become a darling simply by elevating their expected status for the 2022 season. Whether it be someone who was thought to be among the first cut and end up making the practice squad, someone whom wasn’t expected to make the 53 and appears to be able to squeeze onto the roster, or someone thought to be a role player that may end up with significant playing time, exceeding expectations is the key. Additionally, we eliminated players who were previous starters for the Steelers or another franchise, or were drafted on Day 1 & 2 of the NFL draft.
While many of these players fit the criteria for the annual Isaac Redman Award given at BTSC, it should be noted that our classification for eligibility as a camp darling may differ somewhat.
Even though we made our lists the night before the Steelers took to the field for the first time at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, there is still plenty of potential for these players as the pads go on for the first time on Monday. So without further ado, here are the 10 players selected to possibly be the biggest camp darling of 2022 followed by a brief explanation of the choice.
Coming out of USC, can Steele show enough as a UDFA and make some splash plays in order to get fans talking?
With zero career starts and just joining the Steelers last week, McNichols is in a scenario to get a lot of buzz. Now all he has to do is produce.
The size factor alone could get Steelers’ fans talking about Tucker. As an offensive lineman, it usually takes the pads coming on to get noticed.
Being only 5’8” but weighing in at 215 lbs makes for an very interesting build for a running back. But does he have the other characteristics to make a splash at training camp?
Is he truly a tight end? Is he more of a fullback? How does he fit? As long as he’s making plays like he did in minicamp there will be plenty of discussion.
A fourth-round pick last season, Steelers fans didn’t see much from Buddy Johnson due to injury. This season there will definitely be eyes on Johnson to see if he can get into the rotation at inside linebacker now that he has a year of taking in everything.
For those wanting the Steelers to send Mason Rudolph packing, it would likely take Oladokun showing he could be the number three. So far, it looks as if his opportunities are going to be very limited early in camp.
Even after the Steelers adding another running back in Jeremy McNichols, the intrigue of the Steelers UDFA out of Duke has been with Steelers’ Nation since May.
The hype train on Robinson started months ago shortly after he was drafted. Now all he needs to do is show it on the field to keep the conversation going.
Calvin Austin III
He’s small. He’s fast. How will he be used? Steelers’ fans are already talking about the potential before the pads go on.
So there are our 10 players we feel could be the darling of the Steelers 2022 training camp. Which player do you feel will get the most buzz now that the pads are coming on? Is there someone else you feel is the top candidate who was not listed? Make sure you leave your thoughts in the comments below.
To hear the entire show and more of a breakdown for each player, the episode of The Scho Bro Show can be heard here: