These role players on the Steelers will have their jobs on the line at different spots throughout the rest of the preseason.
The preseason in the NFL is all about vying for jobs across varying degree across an NFL roster. The Steelers always have different starting battles and depth pieces up for grabs heading into training camp. Now, the players have had a couple weeks to pave out a niche with this team as they try to continue to develop their roles further.
Final cut down day is always an interesting time as each team needs to get down to 53 players on their roster. Not only does it mean players being released, but it could mean outside options coming into upgrade at different spots. Pittsburgh will have some tough decisions to figure out between now and when the final cuts need to be made.
James Pierre is fighting for a backup role with the Steelers
James Pierre is entering his third season with the black and gold as he originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent. He has worked hard to stick onto this roster since he came into the league, despite him not living up to the hype that he brought with him. Perhaps the “Mike Hilton” label is unfair, especially for undrafted free agents.
The Steelers had wished that Pierre would become a starting caliber corner for this unit, but that does not seem to be happening right now. He needs to find a level of consistency in his game before that role is presented to him. This young veteran will be the sole backup at the position and could find some playing time this season.
Devin Bush needs to show more urgency to secure a starting spot
Devin Bush has had a poor preseason thus far and it does not seem like improvements will be coming anytime soon. He is not acting with any sort of urgency that you would hope for with a former first round pick that just had his fifth-year option declined. Terrell Edmunds showed what you do when that fifth year is denied, you work hard and have a great season. Even if he was not rewarded with a big contract for the time being.
Robert Spillane is right next to him when it comes to the current standings for the starting job right now. That should be a wakeup call for Bush, but he does not seem to care at all. Maybe he does not love the game as much as others. That is going to get him out of the NFL soon, no matter what he believes.
Benny Snell Jr. and Anthony McFarland Jr. are battling for the final spot
Benny Snell Jr. missed a ton of time thus far in the preseason because of an injury. He has been able to come back recently, but he has potentially lost some standing in the running back room for the time being. Both backs that were positioned behind him have done a nice job with the added snaps and are starting to make a case for a roster spot.
Anthony McFarland Jr. has had a nice preseason and could potentially be in the fight of his life for the final running back spot on the team. Jaylen Warren almost seems like a lock to make the club and it will come down to Snell and McFarland behind him. Snell seems like he might provide more on special teams now, but McFarland still has more time to plead his case.
Mason Rudolph is showing his abilities to the Steelers and the NFL
Mason Rudolph is a backup NFL quarterback, and he might not be the worst option out there. The Steelers would be wise to keep him as their third stringer, but maybe they could get something for him via trade. That would be one of the only ways for the club to make him expendable unless he demands to move on.
The fall from grace as the initial thought of him being the starter in 2022 was quick and swift. Now he could be showing both Pittsburgh and other teams across the league what he could provide them. Rudolph plays the position as boring as it gets but you know what you are getting from him and that is valuable.
Kevin Dotson has to become a starter or his career could fade
Kevin Dotson seemed to be the sure-fire starter at the left guard spot for the Steelers entering training camp. Injuries have hindered him yet again and his starting gig might be slipping away. Kendrick Green has been taking most snaps at the starting spot and that is bad news for Dotson.
There is still a battle here because Green has not been performing well with his expanded look. That could become an even bigger issue if Dotson does not come back and retake his job. The left guard spot is starting to become a question mark, even though many thought there was no major issue at the position before camp started.
The Steelers have a lot to figure out between now and the beginning of the regular season. These players could potentially fall into different roles if they are not careful.