Steelers Rookies: first test


Today kicked off the Steelers’ rookie minicamp, the first taste that draft picks and free agents will have of ikeife as a Steelers player.

The defense of the future might be beginning to take shape at the minicamp. With the first three picks of the draft spent on defense, the excitement at the camp will likely be centered around that unit.

Position coaches John Mitchell and Carnell Lake will be putting in some work this weekend as Artie Burns, Sean Davis, and Javon Hargrave don their black and gold helmets. This will be a great opportunity for these three to get some early access to their coaches–without the distraction of an additional 60 or 70 veteran players.

This will be especially important for these three players given their “risk/reward” nature. Burns and Davis are athletic players in the defensive secondary with good size and speed. However, both players come with questions. Burns just turned 21 years old on May 1st and he is undoubtedly a raw player. He has great athleticism–a record breaking speed, actually–and the confidence to succeed.

Davis, while more experienced than Burns, switched positions during his college career and is not a finished product at either cornerback or safety (he will play safety for the Steelers). Like Burns, he is a superior athlete and possesses the attitude to be an enforcer in the secondary.

The biggest question surrounding defensive lineman Javon Hargrave is the level of competition he faced throughout his college career. In his junior and senior years Hargrave was named the Defensive MVP of his collegiate conference.

While Hargrave dominated during his time at South Carolina State, his opponents were not top tier. Beating up on lesser opponents does not strip Hargrave of the potential to have a great career, but it doesn’t guarantee he is pro ready either.
It isn’t uncommon to see the Steelers favor players from big schools and with a lot of experience. This year the team went with some players that have questions regarding technique and pro readiness. This rookie camp will give the coaches a great idea of where these players are in their development.