3 Steelers to watch closely during training camp: Offense
There may be offseason activities for NFL teams to take advantage of during the deadest of times on the football calendar, but once training camp rolls around, the excitement goes to an entirely new level. This is the first signal to fans that the NFL season is soon approaching and the offseason is about to end.
With several new pieces on offense, there is much to break down as it pertains to the Steelers offense heading into training camp. To narrow it down, we are going to take a look at three specific players on offense who have a great opportunity to make a statement in Latrobe.
Huntley was drafted in the fifth round by the Detroit Lions in 2020, but he failed to make the final roster cut despite having shown flashes of potential in the preseason. He was later picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles, spending 2020 and 2021 in Philly but only accumulating 18 carries in the two years combined. The reason I am excited about Huntley’s chances of making an impression in camp is because of his balanced skill set. I love Anthony McFarland, and I certainly hope he can turn his career around and become a contributor for this team, but he sometimes lacks the necessary patience to be an effective runner.
Huntley displays good vision and awareness in the backfield, but he also possesses a second gear of speed that neither Najee Harris nor Jaylen Warren possess. He is not a power back by any means, but the Steelers already have Harris and Warren to take care of that role. What the Steelers need is a true change-of-pace option who can take the defense by surprise and pull off the occasional big run. Huntley may be that guy.
The Steelers wide receiver room is incredibly deep right now, but one name not being talked about hardly at all is Dez Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick, a former 4th round pick of the Tennessee Titans, saw limited playing time his rookie season and only had one significant game, hauling in 3 passes for 35 yards and a touchdown against the Houston Texans. However, the size and athleticism of Fitzpatrick is most certainly enough to make an NFL roster. He is not the cleanest route-runner, but he displays fantastic body control and does a great job high-pointing the football. If he can learn to create even a little separation late in his routes, he could see plenty of looks in scrimmages, which could lead to a more in-depth examination of him during the preseason.
This one may not be a surprise like the previous two that were mentioned, but with Derek Watt out of the fold, Heyward will see opportunities not only at tight end, but also at fullback. Yes, Monte Pottebaum has his crowd of fans, but Heyward was an effective lead blocker when aligned as a fullback at Michigan State. He is more than capable of taking on the role of a true fullback. With Matt Canada likely testing out new play designs and alignments, I expect Conner Heyward to lineup in many different places, whether it be as an H-back, in the slot, or as a fullback. No matter where he lines up, he is going to be relied upon more heavily this year, and we are likely to see an indication of that during training camp.
Which Steelers on offense are you most excited to see perform during training camp? Are there any under-the-radar players that could make the roster with a strong training camp and preseason? Be sure to light up the comment section down below with your thoughts on this and all things Pittsburgh Steelers!