Steelers biggest training camp battles come at defensive line
The Pittsburgh Steelers have plenty of training camp battles this year, but no position has more question marks than the offensive line.
Regardless of how many returning veterans an NFL team has come back to the field this year, training camp battles are something that can be counted on every year and at nearly every position. The Pittsburgh Steelers know this as well as anyone.
Mike Tomlin’s team has seen plenty of late-round and undrafted players, like Kelvin Beachum and Alejandro Villanueva, solidify roster spots and starting roles on the roster, while others fall out of favor. Sometimes mid-round draft choices, like Doran Grant or Jerald Hawkins, end up missing out on the roster altogether.
This year, the Steelers have roster battles at plenty of different positions, but no training camp battle seems bigger than the one at defensive line.
While many positions have just two dogs fighting over one bone, the defensive line has many. Because of this, it makes it hard to predict which player(s) will emerge victoriously.
Which Steelers defensive linemen will make the roster
Recently, I broke down the Steelers roster locks in 2020. On the defensive line, Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Tyson Alualu, and Chris Wormley are all guaranteed to have positions with the team this fall. However, there are many whose jobs are up in the air.
Isaiah Buggs is a second-year player who dressed for 9 games for Pittsburgh last season. He’s a frontrunner to grab a fifth defensive line spot, but his position is far from guaranteed. Dan McCullers is another Steelers veteran who is remarkably going on his seventh season with the team. However, this could change in 2020.
On the outside looking in are hungry defensive lineman trying to fight tooth and nail for a piece of the action this season. Each one of these players offers youth and brings a different set of skills to the table.
Henry Mondeaux is entering his second season in the league after just missing the cut for the Steelers last year. He had a surprisingly impressive preseason last year with his blend of quickness and power, and he will try to earn a hat in 2020.
Cavon Walker is a short-lived XFL star who led the league in sacks (4.5) through the first five games before the XFL closed its doors. Though he’s on the smaller side (6’2”, 278) Walker has terrific short-area quickness and the ability to knife in the backfield and make plays. Calvin Taylor is just the opposite. At 6’9” and 310 pounds, the undrafted rookie from Kentucky will try to stick around with his rare blend of strength and length.
Of course, we haven’t even mentioned Steeler’s seventh-round draft choice, Carlos Davis. Though Davis’ college production was rather underwhelming, his explosive 4.82 40-yard dash at 311 pounds is almost unheard of.
With just four defensive linemen solidified into roles on the roster in 2020, there are potentially two more spots up for grabs this season. It will be interesting to see who emerges victorious.