With free agency and the NFL Draft right around the corner, the Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to retool their roster. The team will likely take the usual conservative approach to free agency — choosing to build through the draft and develop their players.
The following players are already on the Steelers’ roster and their abilities are relatively unknown. The following players will look to crack the starting lineup in 2018.
The Steelers’ 5th round pick a year ago, Allen appeared in 10 games in 2017. Standing 6-feet 3-inches tall, weighing 205 pounds and with 4.4 40 speed, he has the intangibles to be a premier corner in the NFL. Tom Bradley will be tasked with fixing Allen's footwork and hips, but if he can put it all together, the Steelers may have found another late-round gem.
Tight end Jake McGee, was praised by Mike Tomlin during the preseason. But ultimately failed to crack the 53-man roster. McGee spent the 2017 season on the Steelers’ practice squad but he’s shown flashes of being a mauling run-blocker. The Steelers Tight-End unit of Vance McDonald, Jesse James, and Xavier Grimble lacked the run-blocking force that McGee has the potential to be. The Steelers have missed this kind of player since Matt Spaeth failed a physical in 2016. If McGee can improve as a receiver. he could become the Steelers 3rd tight end in 2018.
With Chris Hubbard prepared to leave in free agency, Hawkins becomes the Steelers’ new backup swing-tackle and situational sixth lineman. Hawkins has great length and footwork but will have to develop better “bend” to become a solid NFL tackle.
The Steelers 7th-round draft pick missed the entirety of the 2017 season with an injury. Adams, however, fits the mold of what the Steelers look for in an OLB. While undersized, Adams is a freak athlete. He flowed to the ball carrier well during his time at Western Michigan and has great closing speed. If Adams can add more pass rush moves to his repertoire, he could push first-round picks Dupree and Watt for playing time.
The most tenured member of this list, Tyler Matakevich might be the man the Steelers task with filling the massive shoes left behind by Ryan Shazier’s injury. Matakevich was also injured in the same Cincinnati Bengals game as Shazier, so we never got to see him in the starting lineup. Matakevich has worked his way up the Steelers’ depth chart and has earned the right to earn the starting linebacker spot.
Do you think any of these players could make an impact in 2018?