It’s still unclear whether or not NFL players will be able to train with their teams in full capacity. Here are three Steelers who will be hurt without the needed reps.
2020 has been such an unusual year for the nation, and NFL fans are waiting anxiously to see how the Coronavirus Pandemic will affect the Steelers as they prepare for the upcoming season. For young players around the league, this could slow down their growth.
Offseason workouts and NFL training camps are times for players to get the necessary practice they need to make a smooth transition into the season. If these programs are limited in 2020, it could mean a much steeper learning curve for young players.
Here are three Steelers who could really be hurt if offseason workouts are cut short this year:
EDGE Alex Highsmith
Immediately, third-round draft choice Alex Highsmith comes to mind. Highsmith already has a terribly difficult transition ahead of him as he attempts to make the leap from a non-Power 5 school to NFL competition.
There will be a drastic change in size, strength, and speed of offensive players he will be matched up against, and without the necessary reps throughout the offseason, Highsmith could really struggle from the gate.
WR Chase Claypool
Chase Claypool got better every year at Notre Dame, but he’s entering a Steelers team that is suddenly crowded in the wide receiver room. Ahead of him on the depth chart are players like JuJu Smtih-Schuster, James Washington, and Diontae Johnson – each of whom will be fighting for as many snaps as they can get.
In addition, the acquisition of Eric Ebron could cause Claypool to see even fewer snaps this year than he would have if he was drafted to the Steelers in 2019. If he doesn’t get the much-needed work in with Ben Roethlisberger this offseason, they won’t have time to develop that chemistry during his rookie year.
QB Ben Roethlisberger
This name might surprise you a bit, but it’s important to consider the situation. Ben Roethlisberger is 38 years old and coming off a major elbow injury that required surgery to repair. He has played just a game-and-a-half of football since the 2018 season, and will no doubt need some time to shake off the rust.
Getting off to slow starts has been an issue with Roethlisberger in the past, and if camp activities are limited this year, it could be a really rough start for him from the gate in 2020. Let’s hope he has ample time to get acclimated to his new group of weapons this year.
In the end, there isn’t anything we can do to control how much time these players are allowed to practice, and this is something that will hurt players from all teams. However, these three Steelers could really struggle early if offseason workouts are cut short in 2020.