With Steelers training camp wrapping up ahead of Saturday’s Week 2 preseason matchup with the Buffalo Bills, several players have set themselves apart, and multiple storylines have come to the forefront.
Here are the biggest takeaways from Steelers’ training camp.
Nick Herbig is going to be great
Sweet mother of Moses, Herbig looks like the potential biggest steal in the 2023 NFL Draft. The fourth-round pick has showcased his plethora of pass- rushing moves throughout camp, being one of the biggest standouts on the roster.
His first step is lethal, and we got a taste of that in Week 1 of the preseason against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, when Herbig disrupted two plays and was credited with 1.5 sacks.
While T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith are the obvious Batman and Robin of the Steelers’ pass rushers, Herbig is making a fantastic case to be the Jason Todd of Pittsburgh’s bat family of pass rushers.
Calvin Austin III was worth the wait
It’s a bird. It’s a plane. Nope- it’s Calvin Austin burning your favorite cornerback.
The speed of Austin is as-advertised. He’s showcased his abilities both as a receiver and as a returner throughout camp, being listed as the primary return man on the initial depth chart. His speed has been evident throughout camp, and was put on full display in the preseason opener against the Buccaneers. On his first touch, the Memphis product took a jet sweep 17 yards, and later on zoomed past a Tampa Bay defender like he was on the Autobahn for a 67 yard touchdown.
Calvin Austin is everything the Steelers wanted Ray-Ray McCloud to be. He is going to be great in his gadget-player role, and could also give the Steelers a spark in the return game.
Keeanu Benton is going to be a star
Benton was eating the souls of Buccaneers’ offensive lineman in the preseason opener, and he’s been getting noticed since the beginning of camp. He’s explosive off the snap, and has a superb nose for the ball that the Steelers have been looking for since Stephon Tuitt retired.
A defensive core of Cam Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, and Benton will be very fun to watch, and will torment offensive interiors.
Kenny Pickett looks fantastic
Pickett has looked like a new man throughout camp. His poise and composure is evident, and his accuracy has been tremendous. Does that mean he’s gunna throw for 7,000 yards and 60 touchdowns like some Steelers fans are hoping for? No. His stats will likely be modest, but his prowess and confidence, as well as his ability to protect the ball, is going to help this team take a massive leap in 2023.
The future is bright
This is a young roster, and it is going to be a pleasure watching these young guys go from ninja turtles to a group of Master Splinters over the next several years. George Pickens is an absolute alien at receiver, Darnell Washington and Pat Freiermuth could end up being the best tight end duo in football before we know it, and Joey Porter Jr. has given glimpses of all of that raw talent that made him so sought after.
With the guidance of veterans like Cam Heyward and Patrick Peterson, the foundation will be laid quickly, and these young Steelers will continue to blossom.