4 bold predictions for the Steelers vs. 49ers in week 1

Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (39)
Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (39) / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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Steelers rookies are quiet

The Steelers rookie class was one of the better ones on paper in recent years. It seemed like the draft fell perfectly for the team, as needs and players of interest were available at every pick. The draft has been praised, and there are some high expectations for this rookie class.

That said, I don’t see this week being a banner day for the group of rookies. Broderick Jones will start the year on the bench after Dan Moore did more than enough to earn the starting role. Joey Porter seems poised for a role sooner than later, but the addition of Desmond King muddies his role. He could be used sparingly, especially if the Steelers want to keep Levi Wallace out on the field at first.

As for Darnell Washington and Nick Herbig, neither figure to factor in much this week. Herbig will struggle to get defensive snaps given the depth of the edge room, and Washington is poised to be a blocker and less of a receiver early on.

The lone exception could be Keeanu Benton. While he isn’t officially listed as the starting nose tackle yet, I expect him to be on the field. As stated before, the 49ers interior of the line is weak, so that is a matchup that could be exploited. That said, I don’t expect to see a lot of big contributions from the rookie class despite a lot of hype this week.