The Pittsburgh Steelers started their preseason off 1-0, defeating the New York Giants 20-12.
It wasn’t the best of games. There were turnovers, and the offense needed time to click. But once this team started rolling, there was no stopping them. As rookies shined, and dark horses arose, the Steelers discovered that almost anyone on this roster could take over a game.
For plenty of players, they’re still competing for the 53-man roster. With position battles still mid-stride, everyone is looking to prove themselves in these first four games.
As the Steelers head back to training camp, they’ll be evaluating each of these standout players. As some underdogs made a name for themselves in this one, the competition at camp may now just be heating up. Depending on how the coaching staff feels about players who may not have shown up, there could be some surprises on who does and doesn’t make the final cut.
So, after the Steelers first preseason game, these five players gained the upper hand in securing their spot on this team.
TJ Watt played almost all if not the whole game and made some plays. His two sacks were not the greatest in the world, but the consistent pressure and execution on his two sacks have the Steelers excited for the future. The Steelers have been looking for a pass rusher, and they may have found the one of the future in TJ Watt.
Arthur Moats put up an impressive stat line and also played almost all the game. He really padded his stats during the later part of the game where younger players and players that will likely not make the team play. He did have a sack early in the game, and his interception was also a key play in the game. Moats is a true bubble player, but if he continues to play this way, it would be unfair to cut him. He may not be the best special teams player, but he does an adequate job and is a very reliable backup at outside linebacker.
Cobi Hamilton had two big catches tonight including one for a touchdown. His two catches were “go routes, ” and he showed that he has the ability to make plays as a receiver. It is a crowded field as far as making the team as a wide receiver, but his performance tonight puts him in the conversation. I think he should also get strong consideration for the practice squad. At any rate, if Hamilton continues to make plays like he did tonight, he will be on somebody’s roster.
Mike Hilton has been the training camp darling. He showed tonight that he deserves to be on the team as well. He had two plays as a gunner on special teams, one where he made an open field tackle and the other he recovered a fumble. He also showed good tackling ability in the open field on defense. It was interesting the way he blitzed the quarterback throughout the night and made plays. He had at least one sack and a couple pressures. I think his play tonight has him on the inside of the roster bubble looking out at Senquez Golston and Brian Allen.
Terrell Watson showed that he is worthy of at least a practice squad role. Although his plays were against the Giants second and third team, he made some nice cuts and had productive runs.
Keith Kelsey made a couple plays on special teams, and that should get the coaches attention. He also made a nice open field tackle that injured his shoulder. If the injury is not serious, he has made himself a serious contender for the practice squad.