Steel Curtain Network: A Pittsburgh Steelers podcast

The top Pittsburgh Steelers training camp battles in 2023

Wednesday, July 26th marks the day the Pittsburgh Steelers rookies and veterans report to training camp. The Steelers are the last team to report to camp, and this will mark the official end of the offseason and the beginning of the 2023 campaign.

With the start of training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, so do the many training camp battles which are due to ensue. While most roster spots are more than locked up, there are those battles for depth positions and fringe players who could make the final push to the 53-man roster.

So, what training camp battles should you be watching? Here are some…

DB Rotation

Some might not call this an official “battle”, but to see what the Steelers plan on doing in the secondary, and with what personnel they’ll use, is definitely something to watch. How do rookies Joey Porter Jr. and Cory Trice Jr. fit into the scheme? Does Patrick Peterson still have it, and will he flex into the slot at times? What about someone like Tre Norwood? I’m extremely intrigued how these positions will be filled out when all is said and done.

Offensive Tackle

I said offensive tackle and not left tackle for a reason, and that reason is based on the fact I believe there could be some serious shuffling at the tackle position if, and only if, Broderick Jones is able to win the job at left tackle. If that takes place, will the Steelers have an open competition at right tackle between Dan Moore Jr. and Chuks Okorafor? A lot of ifs there, but still something to watch.

Wide Receiver

There are the guarantees to make the team at wide receiver: Diontae Johnson, George Pickens and Allen Robinson. Outside of that, is anyone safe? How many receivers will the Steelers keep, and which players will round out the group? Let’s say they keep six, who are the other three? Calvin Austin III, Miles Boykin for special teams, and who else? Cody White? Gunner O? Hakeem Butler? Let the battle begin…

Tight End

The Steelers have a very complete tight end room after drafting Darnell Washington in the 3rd Round in the 2023 NFL Draft, but the battle could depend on if the team wants to keep all four tight ends, or just three. If the team decides to add an extra player at another position, it could mean they only keep three tight ends. Does this mean the end for Zach Gentry if this happens? It’s up to Gentry to prove his worth and force the team to keep all of the tight ends on the team.

Running Back

Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren are the 1-2 punch for the Steelers offense, but who will the 3rd running back be? Anthony McFarland might be the leader in the clubhouse, but his spot on the team is far from certain. A lot of this discussion with fringe players will come down to special teams. If McFarland isn’t going to contribute on special teams, the team could go with someone who brings more value in this regard.

Defensive Line

Just like the wide receiver discussion, a lot of this depends on how many defensive linemen the Steelers plan on keeping on the roster. There are the mainstays in Cam Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, DeMarvin Leal and Keeanu Benton, but who rounds out the group? Does Isaiahh Loudermilk make the team and take a leap forward? Does someone like Armon Watts beat out Montravius Adams or Breiden Fehoko? This might be one of the more intriguing camp battles of camp.

Punt/Kickoff Returner

As stated earlier, special teams is the way teams round out their roster. Who will claim the role of punt and kickoff returner? It might equate in a job, and looking for a new NFL home in just over a month from now. This is a position to really watch in the preseason.

Punter

The Steelers clearly aren’t thrilled with the punting situation, and one of the reason the team brought in competition for Pressley Harvin III this offseason. Will “Big Press” be able to keep his job? Something to track as training camp and preseason roll on.


What do you think of these battles? Who will have the opportunity to claim their spot on the 53-man roster? Let us know what you think in the comment section below, and be sure to hear our thoughts in the podcast player below!

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