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Steelers Mailbag: Which defender is poised for a breakout season?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a mixed bag of goods after two preseason games, and it is time to dig into another mailbag to answer questions from our loyal followers.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It is that time of the week again where I dig into the BTSC mailbag to answer questions from our loyal Twitter followers who want to know what is going on with the Pittsburgh Steelers. With news breaking of Tajh Boyd getting released, there were plenty of questions surrounding that, but I picked the best of the best.

Let's get right to it...

From: Scott Michael (@NYSteelersFan)

Question: With a lot of new starters on defense, who is most poised to have a breakout season?

Answer: This is a difficult question based on the fact there are so many unknowns surrounding the team's defense heading into 2015, but there are many capable players who could fall into the "breakout" performer category. Some of the candidates would be Stephon Tuitt, Shamarko Thomas, Mike Mitchell, Brandon Boykin and even Daniel McCullers could make an impact. However, I am going to go in a different direction and say Ryan Shazier. Shazier will not only see the most playing time, but if healthy he has proven he can be a playmaker in the middle of the field. His athleticism and speed are nearly unmatched at the inside linebacker position. Look for Shazier to be all over the field from sideline-to-sideline and making a difference for the 2015 Steelers defense.

From: TDF (@TDF4LIFE70)

Question: If the Steelers keep WR/emergency QB Tyler Murphy, what are the chances they keep Landry Jones? Could use the extra spot for another position.

Answer: If Tyler Murphy makes the team's 53-man roster I would call it a safe bet the team is banking on keeping only 2 quarterbacks. Murphy would only be used in dire straits as a quarterback, and if both Ben Roethlisberger and Bruce Gradkowski go down, the team will be looking elsewhere before turning to Murphy to quarterback the team. The question is can Murphy contribute enough as a special teams player and wide receiver to warrant a roster spot. He has turned heads so far, but there is still a long ways to go.

From: Ken Yaeger (@ken_yaeger)

Question: What's the back up plan if Shark (Shamarko Thomas) can't fit the bill at safety?

Answer: If Shamarko isn't able to hold is own in the back end alongside Mike Mitchell, the back up plan is an easy one: Will Allen. There is a reason the Steelers brought back the crafty veteran, and that reason is he knows the system and is extremely trustworthy. Thomas and Mitchell haven't played alongside one another yet this preseason, and I wouldn't judge Thomas by his first game action against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week. However, the Steelers know they have a security blanket in Allen if one goes down with an injury, or isn't playing up to par.

From: Mitch Wolfe (@mtwolfe95)

Question: I guess the Steelers are comfortable with Landry Jones at QB as they released Tajh Boyd?

Answer: Comfortable might not be the best word to describe the team's feelings regarding Jones. Quite frankly, Jones is the best quarterback among Boyd, Murphy and the recently released Devin Gardner. Not a glowing endorsement by any stretch, but it has long been known Jones was competing for the third quarterback spot on the depth chart, never the backup. If Bruce Gradkoswki is healthy, he will be the backup. The question then becomes will the team keep a third quarterback or just run with two when the season starts? A lot of factors go into answer that question, and I detailed several of those in a previous question.


That's all the questions I used for this week's mailbag article. Curious how to get your question in the article? Follow us on Twitter (@btsteelcurtain) and submit your question by sending us a tweet. The best get selected on a weekly basis.