Steelers roster: One player who shined at each position this summer

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Warren (30) runs with the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third quarter at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Warren (30) runs with the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third quarter at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /

With training camp and the preseason wrapped up, here is a standout for the Steelers at every position.

The Steelers have had a very telling training camp and preseason so far to this point. While there were a lot of players that panned out as everyone expected, there were some that surprised. While this wasn’t always a good thing, there were quite a few players that shined for the team through the offseason program and are lined up for a role with the team this season.

This list looks at every position in hopes of finding a player that stood out through the entire program. While some positions were harder to choose from (I’m looking at you offensive line), there were quite a few breakout players that should be noted for their strong performances. Here is a stand-out from every position from the Steelers offseason program.

Steelers offense had some great players


A lot of people won’t like this, but the Steelers best quarterback throughout training camp and the preseason was Mason Rudolph. While mostly written off due to the two other significant investments in the position, Rudolph came in and played strong from the first snap.

While both Kenny Pickett and Mitchell Trubisky had their moments, Rudolph was the most consistent player on the team. No, he won’t be the starter, and I’m not advocating for him to start, but out of all of the quarterbacks and what the expectations were, Rudolph was the best of the group.

Running back:

The surprise training camp darling, Jaylen Warren knew he had an opportunity entering training camp. The Steelers had no set backup running back, so there was a chance for a standout to make an impact. He had some long odds, as most viewed him as one of the least likely names to make an impact. He was viewed as behind fellow undrafted rookie Mataeo Durant.

Some strong camp practices led to some strong preseason performances. While he did fumble that first game, he also flashed a hard running style and some solid hands. He went from a long shot to a near-roster lock due to how good he has played to this point in camp.

Wide receiver/Tight end

While not the unknown that Warren was, nobody expected George Pickens to be as good as he looked as early as he showed it. He battled injuries during his final season in school which caused him to fall to the second round. He doesn’t look like a player that needs a lot of time though.

From his first practice snaps to his actual gameplay, Pickens looked like the real deal. He has been running with the starters since the first day of camp and he should be a key player for the team this season. The Steelers got a good one here, and he has confirmed that with his early returns.

Offensive line:

Is “other” an option? In all seriousness, the line has been bad through most of the offseason. Despite some promising practices, the actual game tape has been horrible and has left a litany of questions about this group heading into the season.

The most consistent name has been Mason Cole. While not my personal favorite free agent signing, Cole has looked capable so far in the preseason. Perhaps it is just the rest of the line looking that bad next to him, but Cole has looked like a capable starter to this point. A small bright spot on an otherwise terrible line.

The Steelers defense was a bit quieter

Defensive line:

This has been a good group, but not one with a clear stand-out. The top names have looked just like that, the top names and the backups have done a decent job at making their presence felt. While there aren’t many losers in this group, I do think that DeMarvin Leal has flashed quite a bit so far.

While he was an exciting pick, many wondered how he would transition to the Steelers defense given the fact that he had to add some weight. He has still looked like an effective pass rusher though, and he has made his presence felt. He may be able to be a contributor sooner than later at this pace.

Edge defender:

The thinnest group on the roster right now, edge depth is shallow. This was made even more so when the team surprisingly cut Genard Avery. The lone bright spot has been Hamilcar Rashed. Added in the middle of the camp, he has worked his way up the depth chart and is primed to be one of the top backups on the roster.

It hasn’t been flashy, but he has done enough to gain the confidence of the coaching staff. He has looked like the best of the potential backups so far. He should stick around this team in some form or fashion for the remainder of the season.


The other training camp gem that surfaced has been seventh-round rookie Mark Robinson. Most expected him to need a season or two due to him being a former running back that converted to linebacker. While he hasn’t been perfect by any means, he has looked like a far better option than most of the other backups on the roster.

No, Robinson isn’t ready to start, but he hits hard and plays with a lot of intensity. He is a physical player that attacks the run despite his size limitations and coverage struggles. It has been a surprising camp for the rookie, and the Steelers have to be happy with where he is at.


There weren’t a lot of notable performances from the cornerbacks during camp. Both of the undrafted players flashed early on, but both faded down the stretch. I wouldn’t expect either to make the roster. James Pierre, on the other hand, has seemed to rebound from his up-and-down 2022 season.

He hasn’t been as flashy as he was in years past, but he also has looked more consistent and comfortable on the field. He won’t be overtaking anyone on the roster in front of him anytime soon, but he should be able to hold his own as a backup. I think he cements himself as a fine reserve option after his strong offseason.


Had he stayed healthy, Karl Joseph would likely own this spot. He was unstoppable early in camp and was wearing a lot of hats for the defense. With him on IR now though, I think the crown has to go to Damontae Kazee. While not an elite player, he has looked like a more than capable role player for the Steelers.

Like Joseph, Kazee suffered a wrist injury and is headed to injured reserve. That doesn’t take away from his extremely strong performance during training camp though. He looked like he could have served a valuable role on this defense, and only time will tell if he can still have an impact past this season.

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The Steelers have had an eventful training camp and offseason so far. While the team is still working on sorting out their final roster, these standouts certainly helped their case. Each of these players have shined so far in the offseason.