3 underdogs who look like early favorites for roster spots at Steelers training camp

  • Two unexpected defensive backs earn first-team reps
  • A young linebacker sees work over the veterans

Steelers, Steelers training camp
Steelers, Steelers training camp / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Mark Robinson

I know everyone expects Mark Robinson to make the roster this year, but we shouldn't be acting like his role is guaranteed. Robinson was the 225th overall pick in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft. In recent years, we have seen the Steelers give up on much higher former draft picks without giving it a second thought. Just last year, they cut ties with former 2021 fourth-round linebacker, Buddy Johnson.

But this isn't the only reason to think that Robinson needs to prove his worth. This past offseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers signed a whopping four veteran off-ball linebackers. Two of the four are former team captains and full-time starters while the other two have loads of experience on special teams.

Despite all of this, it was Robinson -- not athletic linebacker, Tanner Muse, or long-time special teams ace, Nick Kwiatkowski -- who was the first LB off the bench. This was a noteworthy sign. Robinson has just a handful of defensive snaps under his belt, but he has apparently done enough to get the first crack off the bench over more experienced linebackers.

The pecking order of the linebacker position gets murky after Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts, and the number three LB could come down to who can prove themselves in coverage in sub-package situations. This clearly isn't Robinson's forte, so it will be interesting to see if he can hold down this role as the first LB off the bench. Either way, this seems to be a good sign when it comes to making the roster and having a role in 2023.

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