The Pittsburgh Steelers begin their 2015 preseason this Sunday when they play the Minnesota Vikings in the Hall of Fame game in Canton, OH. With the game around the corner, Mike Tomlin released his first depth chart of the 2015 season. There weren't many surprises, but take a look at some highlights from the first chart below.
No real surprises here as the offensive line remains intact from 2014. Mike Adams, despite having back surgery and missing the entire preseason so far, remains as the second string tackle along with Alejandro Villenueva. The interior of the line is anchored by Chris Hubbard and the versatile Cody Wallace.
In one of the few true training camp battles, rookie Jesse James has been placed as the third tight end behind Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth, but above Rob Blanchflower who is coming off a season spent on the team's practice squad. Depending on their play this preseason, this third tight end spot will certainly be up for grabs.
Antonio Brown is the clear number one, but the WR2 spot is occupied by Markus Wheaton, not Martavis Bryant. Bryant is shown as the second receiver behind Brown. This may be interesting to see how the preseason plays out when Bryant returns from elbow surgery. It seems as if Wheaton is being primed to play the slot this season, but the depth chart certainly doesn't reflect that being set in stone just yet. This could also be an adjustment with Bryant out of the lineup heading into the first game action of 2015.
Other than the top of the depth chart, Darrius Heyward-Bey is the No. 4 WR with Sammie Coates and C.J. Goodwin battling it out for the 5th spot.
After Le'Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams, Dri Archer is the third RB listed on the depth chart with a logjam behind them with Josh Harris, Cameron Stingily and Jawon Chisholm. Similar to the tight end position, the battle for the third and fourth running back spots will certainly be one to watch throughout the preseason.
The only debate around the quarterback depth chart is who is listed after Ben Roethlisberger. Bruce Gradkowski keeps his second spot, and Landry Jones is listed as the third string signal caller with Tajh Boyd behind Jones. Tyler Murphy and Devin Gardner don't find themselves on the chart at all as quarterbacks.
There weren't many surprises along the defensive line as Stephon Tuitt, Steve McLendon and Cameron Heyward are the starters, but as Daniel McCullers locks down the backup nose tackle position, it is Cam Thomas and Clifton Geathers who are the backup tackles on this depth chart. What did come as a surprise was rookie L.T. Walton and Ethan Hemer being listed as fourth team players along with Niko Davis. Their play along the line throughout the preseason will be extremely important for their future within the Steelers organization.
There were literally no surprises with this depth chart at both inside and outside linebackers. Jarvis Jones and Arthur Moats are listed as the starting OLBs, with Lawrence Timmons and Ryan Shazier listed as the starting ILBs. Bud Dupree and James Harrison provide depth at OLB, while Vince Williams and Sean Spence are the depth at ILB. Anthony Chickillo and Howard Jones are both listed as third string linebackers with Shayon Green as the only listed fourth string player.
Again, no surprises here. William Gay and Cortez Allen are the first team players with Antwon Blake and Brandon Boykin inserted as backups. From there you have players like Kevin Fogg, B.W. Webb as third string cornerbacks and Doran Grant and Senquez Golson listed as fourth string players.
After Shamarko Thomas and Mike Mitchell, Will Allen and Robert Golden round out the safety depth, but the next in line seems to be Gerod Holliman. With Ross Ventrone injured, Holiman finds himself above Ian Wild and others vying for a spot on the team's final roster.
The only competition on special teams is at punter where Brad Wing and Jordan Berry are attempting to out-kick the other Australian as the team's punter in 2015. The incumbent, Wing, finds himself atop the depth chart, but with a full 5-game preseason this battle is far from over.