5 Steelers players hurt most by the lack of NFL preseason

Justin Layne #31 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
Justin Layne #31 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /
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Justin Layne Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Justin Layne

The player most hurt by the lack of a preseason also happens to be the safest roster lock. Justin Layne was drafted in the third round last year, and while his size and athleticism were positives, he was still raw in coverage. While he became a special teams gunner by the end of the season, he will need to improve his coverage skills in order to become the primary backup outside CB.

As of now, Cameron Sutton is primed to be the backup at both the outside and the inside, but considering he is about to be a free agent after this season, it would be beneficial if Layne could have made the jump from unknown to at least a savvy backup. This is the type of jump expected in second-year players, but he will have little opportunity to showcase that due to there being no preseason.

While having Sutton as the primary backup isn’t a concern this year, it could leave the Steelers with questionable depth going into next year. If Layne doesn’t have the chance to prove himself this year, the Steelers may opt to move on from him next year and add another depth option. Considering the uncertain long-term future of Joe Haden, having Layne in the back pocket would be nice. Unfortunately, that opportunity may not present itself.

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While the lack of a preseason is a necessary step, it doesn’t mean NFL players aren’t affected by it. The Steelers alone have a handful of players who may lose out on a roster spot due to them not being able to prove themselves. The names above may become victims of this unfortunate NFL offseason.