clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Steelers Mailbag: The most intriguing training camp battles about to ensue

New, comments

Time to open up the BTSC Mailbag and answer some questions from our Twitter followers as the team prepares themselves for minicamp the next three days.

Vincent Pugliese-USA TODAY Sports

We asked for your Pittsburgh Steelers questions on Twitter, and you responded. However, this week instead of focusing on several questions, I picked just two. One is a multi-part question while the other is simply too complex to give a simple answer. You can be a part of the Twitter fun by following BTSC on Twitter (@btsteelcurtain) and watching on Tuesdays when we request questions for our BTSC Steelers Mailbag.

Time to open up the mail pouch and see what we find:

From: Candy Randy (@ElRicky_)

Question: What could justify the Steelers not releasing Cam Thomas after a bad season, and who has the best chance of surpassing him on the depth chart?

Answer: Great question, and one which is asked often among Steelers fans. Thomas did not have a very good year in 2014, and the Steelers brought in plenty of competition this offseason to make him earn his spot not just on the 53-man roster, but within the organization. The justification for keeping Thomas is if someone like Clifton Geathers, L.T. Walton or Ethan Hemer aren't able to beat out Thomas in training camp. As none of those players have major playing experience in the Steelers' system, Thomas has the edge. If I were to pick a player to beat out Thomas which could send him packing, I would put my money on Walton or Hemer as they are both young and athletic. Something the Steelers want to have along their defensive line behind Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt.

From: Heather (@SteelersGal86)

Question: Which training camp battle do you think will be the most intriguing?

Answer: Another solid question, and one which is tough to nail down just one battle to rank as the best. Being the coward I am, I will waffle out of this and give you a position battle on both the offensive and defensive side of the football which I am excited to watch.

Offense: The media can spin it however they want, but the battle between Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton for the No. 2 WR position is important. The receiver who wins the battle will see a major increase in snaps compared to the other, and with the increased snaps will come opportunities to make plays. It is hard not to see Bryant winning this battle, with Wheaton filling in as a stellar slot WR; however, as reports state Bryant has improved, you have to wonder if he has improved enough to see the field with regularity in only his second season. My guess: Bryant wins this battle and never looks back as he continues his upward trend as a budding superstar in the NFL across from Antonio Brown.

Defense: There are so many battles to watch on defense it is tough to decide. I am tempted to say outside linebacker, but the real battles there are for the depth positions. That isn't as exciting as players battling for a starting position. With that said, I will take the battle at cornerback. The Steelers have William Gay, Cortez Allen and Antwon Blake as their top 3 cornerbacks currently, but don't think the team won't give rookies Senquez Golson and Doran Grant every opportunity to prove they are worthy for that top 3 distinction at some point in training camp. I think the Steelers start the season with Gay, Allen and Blake, but Golson finds his way into the top 3 by the season's end, and that doesn't mean the Steelers won't be doing well defensively, just that Golson will prove worthy. Honorable mention battle to watch: Safety. Gerod Holliman might be the most intriguing player on the Steelers 90-man roster. Camp cannot get here soon enough!

That's it for this week's mailbag. Be sure to join in the fun next week by following BTSC on Twitter (@btsteelcurtain).