3 close player battles Steelers could decide after Panthers game
By Tommy Jaggi
The Pittsburgh Steelers have three player battles that they should take a second look at. Here’s why it should be so hard to decide.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have just one preseason game left before they will have to decide on their final roster cuts next week. Cutting down from 80 players to just 53 is never easy, and while multiple players at the same positions may have impressed this summer, sometimes there’s just not room for both.
There have been a few positional battles that players have kept tabs on since the beginning of Steelers training camp. However, I want to get even more specific. Here are three-player battles for the same role on the team in 2021. Is it too late for the underdogs to rise up, or can they change the minds of the coaching staff in the final preseason game against the Carolina Panthers?
Steelers WR/PR: Ray-Ray McCloud vs Matthew Sexton
At the beginning of training camp, this is a competition I never really would have given a second thought to. However, there is plenty of reason to believe that this may not have been decided yet. Last year, Ray-Ray McCloud was the underdog as Ryan Switzer (formerly acquired by trade with the Raiders) stood firmly in this role.
To the surprise of many, the team went with McCloud over Switzer? Could they make a similar move for another impressive young player in Matthew Sexton? There isn’t room on the roster for two punter returns/slot receivers.
Sexton is averaging an astonishing 29.3 yards per punt return this offseason, but McCloud has been impressive in his own right – taking a screen pass for 30-yards just last week. If one of these players has a monster performance against the Panthers, perhaps that could be enough to sway Pittsburgh one way or the other.