Every NFL game possesses players with tremendous skill, but not every player who steps onto the field is an impact player. Every game, depending on the matchups, could be a player who ultimately turns the tide of a specific contest. As the Pittsburgh Steelers prepare for the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday afternoon, I've picked the 5 who I think could be those impact players for the black and gold.
Shazier could be on this list every week, and there is a reason why. When healthy, Shazier is by far the most dynamic player on the Steelers' defense. His ability to stop the run, drop into coverage and tackle make him invaluable to the team every time he steps onto the field. He led the Steelers in tackles in Week 2, with 12, and looks to be in full control of the team's defense as he enters his third year in the league.
Anyone who watched the Week 2 game against the Cincinnati Bengals knows Roethlisberger didn't have the best game. Although throwing three touchdowns, Roethlisberger tossed two interceptions and barely completed 50-percent of his passes. An aberration for the Pro Bowl signal caller, and the team most certainly will expect a bounce back game from No. 7. They will need it as the team hopes to not just improve to 3-0, but to abuse a questionable secondary of the Eagles.
Ben Roethlisberger having a bad day usually means Brown has a rough day as well. Brown was pretty much held in check by the Bengals last week, and had a very rare drop which would have resulted in a first down, as well as added to his mundane statistics. Like Roethlisberger, Brown usually isn't held down for long, and there is a good chance he breaks out in Week 3, helping the Steelers stay perfect through 3 weeks of the 2016 season.
After missing the first two games of the regular season with a shoulder injury, Wheaton will make his 2016 debut against the Eagles. His role on the team shouldn't be understated, as he will be a legitimate threat opposite Brown. Wheaton is a great route runner, and someone Roethlisberger trusts when he is looking to make a play down field. Wheaton, Brown, Sammie Coates and Eli Rogers will likely make up the team's top four wide receivers, and a pretty solid corps, in my opinion.
After holding A.J. Green to just two catches for 38-yards, Cockrell was the toast of the town in Pittsburgh. Although he got plenty of help against one of the premiere pass catchers in the NFL today, Cockrell proved what he is capable of, but can he keep it up? Duplicating his performance against the Eagles will continue to solidify a secondary which, believe it or not, has become a strength of this 2016 defense.