Believe it or not, the Pittsburgh Steelers report to training camp on July 25th, and we are digging up the '32 Scenarios in 32 Days' segment to help us all pass the time. Once a day we will be drafting a potential 2015 season scenario, telling you why it will happen, why it won't and giving you important keys for the scenario to take place.
Scenario: Pittsburgh Steelers rookie defensive backs garner three interceptions in 2015.
Why it will happen: The Pittsburgh Steelers put an emphasis on the team's secondary in this 2015 draft class, and there is a reason for such an emphasis. The current crop of defensive backs don't necessarily wreak of confidence in terms of their ability to hold down the secondary in 2015. Cortez Allen, William Gay and Antwon Blake are the heir apparents to the top three defensive back positions heading into 2015, and if there were ever a chance for rookies to impress their way into the starting lineup it would be this season.
Between Senquez Golson, Gerod Holliman and Doran Grant, the trio combined for 28 interceptions in 2014 while in college. The three have good ball skills, with Golson and Holliman bordering great. The team could certainly look to this trio of rookies to help make plays in the back half of the defense if the veterans fail to do so throughout the early portions of the season.
On top of their ball skills, the rookies have gotten good reviews in the early portions of offseason workouts. Although these workouts don't equate to success when the bullets actually start flying, it is a sign these players might be ready to make plays, even as rookies.
Why it won't happen: Rookies rarely play on the defensive side of the football, and just because Dick LeBeau left doesn't mean that will change. Keith Butler is going to deploy the best defensive secondary group he feels will give the team a chance to win on a weekly basis. Throwing out rookies simply hasn't been the Steelers' way since Rod Woodson donned a black and gold uniform.
On top of Butler's decision, there is a chance the trio slated to start the season doesn't need any rookie help. Cortez Allen could rebound from a sub-par 2014 season, Antwon Blake could step up and be the solid nickel CB the team needs and William Gay could continue to make plays when they present themselves as he did on numerous occasions in 2014.
Turning to rookies is seemingly a last-case scenario in the Steel City, and that trend very well could continue under Keith Butler as it did under Dick LeBeau.
Keys: The keys to this scenario coming to fruition are Butler's view on playing rookies, and how the veterans perform ahead of Grant, Golson and Holliman. Holliman as a safety would be filling in for Mike Mitchell or Shamarko Thomas, but with neither of those players showing a tremendous amount of upside in 2014, nothing is written in stone heading into 2015. If the veterans struggle, the Steelers could turn to a young defensive back to throw in the fire. The trio of rookies have the ball skills to tally 3 INTs in 2015, but will they get the opportunity? That is the question as we head into training camp, if they see the field enough there is a good chance this scenario becomes a reality.