The Steelers won their first preseason game, but more importantly, these five players shined and their stock is soaring for the team right now.
The first preseason game is always an exciting one. For weeks, reports have leaked about players looking good and bad in practice, but that first game allows for everyone to find their rhythm. The Steelers were no different, as there was a slew of players who came up big. Because of this, they are in a much better spot with the team this week than they were last week.
While there is still plenty of time for other players to move past the ones listed here, these were the biggest winners of the preseason outing against the Seahawks. Weeks of good practice translated well onto the field, and now each of these players may see more opportunities open up in front of them. Here are the five Steelers whose stock is soaring after the first preseason win.
Norwood cemented himself as a viable defensive back
This training camp has seen a larger-than-expected battle brewing at defensive back. Names like Karl Joseph and Damontae Kazee have played bigger roles than expected, and it has been on the quieter side for surprise rookie standout Tre Norwood. His time in camp hasn’t been bad, but he was being overlooked by some of the other names mentioned.
While his stats weren’t flashy, Norwood had a solid first outing. He got a lot of work in his usual variety of roles, and he was critical in making some coverage plays while on defense. It looks like he is picking up where he left off, which is a good thing for the impressive former seventh-round pick. After this first game, he should continue to see a lot of work for this team.
Warren looks like the lead backup for Steelers
One of the early winners from training camp was undrafted rookie running back Jaylen Warren. A spotty college resume and bad athletic testing caused him to fall out of the draft, but he flashed physicality and a bowling ball nature while in school. Training camp was a lot of the same for Warren, as his physicality was noted while running during practice.
While could argue that Anthony McFarland had the more explosive day, to me, Warren was the best back on the field. While not overly athletic, Warren averaged a healthy 5.7 yards per carry while also chipping in four receptions and a touchdown through the air. It looks like he could be a capable number two behind Najee Harris, and that will be huge for his stock coming out of training camp.
Robinson continues his impressive offseason with Steelers
Seventh-round pick Mark Robinson left a lot to be desired as a prospect. Small, unathletic, and with a recent positional switch to linebacker, he seemed like a project with a relatively low ceiling. Since camp has opened though, Robinson has been making plays all over the field. His instincts are far more developed than most gave him credit for, and his physicality is unmatched.
While not perfect in his first outing, Robinson more than held his own as a linebacker. He had three tackles and a sack, once again flashing the instincts that seem more developed than many had thought they would be. At this point, he seems to be close to cementing a roster spot. Despite the massive hill in front of him, Robinson has been one of the more effective players on defense.
Pickens proves he’s the real deal
Could a player’s stock be any higher than George Pickens right now? I would argue no. From the first reports out of camp, Pickens has been noted for making some insane catches and absolutely burning defenders. That all said, I was expecting a slower first game from the rookie. Receivers like him commonly look good in practice only to disappear once games start (I’m looking at you, Justin Hunter).
Instead, Pickens more than delivered, as he caught three passes for 43 yards including a beautiful touchdown catch where he once again showed off his body control. It seems like Pickens can do little wrong right now, and he will likely continue to shine in the offseason. If this hype translates to the field early on, the Steelers will have a gem in their hands.
Trubisky looks the part of a starter
The quarterback competition has been a hotly contested one so far in camp, and mostly it’s been all for the wrong reasons. Despite being the newly paid free agent, Mitchell Trubisky has been very hot and cold in practice. For someone that you are hoping can bridge your quarterback room until Kenny Pickett is ready, Trubisky looked bad.
Once it was game time though, Trubisky delivered. He was efficient during the first few drives, making accurate passes and pushing the ball down the field when needed. While he was far from perfect, it was a need first showing from the likely week one starting quarterback. It was reassuring to see Trubisky actually look the part after some rough practices.
It was an exciting first game for the Steelers, as a slew of players showed off some of the talents they had in camp. While there is still a long way to go before the season officially begins, these five players should garner more opportunities in camp given their strong first showing.