5 Steelers already on the chopping block during OTAs

While there is still a long way to go before the final roster is set, these five Steelers are fighting for their futures during OTAs
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Calvin Austin III (19)
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Calvin Austin III (19) / Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

OTA’s have welcomed us back to the world of football. While a classic time to overeat to every “he looks great” storyline, this is a valid time to start picking up on trends on the roster. For the Steelers, we have heard stories of players shining during this time that have gone on to stick around. You just need to think about Mike Hilton a few years ago as an example of that.

On the flip side of this, players moving up the depth chart means others will move down. While there is still a long road ahead of everyone on this roster, these players already seem like they are in a poor position on the roster and could easily be on the outs by the time training camp wraps up. Here are five Steelers already on the chopping block at OTA’s.

Jack Colletto

It was already a bit of a longshot that the Steelers would keep Jack Colletto around this season, as the fullback is a dying breed of player. That said, Arthur Smith seems to covet the position and has used one extensively since his time with the Titans. Colletto is the only true fullback on the roster, so there is some reason to be intrigued.

All of that came to a halt when Connor Heyward came out and said he would be happy to take snaps at fullback. While this is something that has been heavily speculated on since he was drafted, it hasn’t come to fruition yet. His openness this week to move around though seems to cement that that is the direction this offense is moving towards.

As for Colletto, the Steelers will not keep two fullbacks on the roster, so he needs to make himself uncuttable on special teams and the offense to have a shot. That could move Heyward back to just his tight end spot. That said, it seems like even worse odds now that he finds a way to be a roster sleeper.

Rodney Williams

You have to feel bad for Rodney Williams. He impressed with the team over the past few seasons to earn a practice squad spot, and after getting promoted to the active roster last season due to injuries, he stuck around because of his play. With the new offense set to feature a lot of heavy packages, Williams seemed like a potential fit to serve a role on offense.

That could still be the case, but the waters have gotten a lot murkier. It seems like a safe bet that the Steelers carry four tight ends this season (with Heyward being listed there but playing all over). Williams is the incumbent for the fourth spot, but he is battling Smith favorite MyCole Pruitt and new addition Izaiah Gathings.

Williams can beat those two on paper, but his road to the roster has gotten steeper. If the team decides to only carry three tight ends, his odds are also shot. We saw some good snaps from Williams last year, but he needs to shine this summer to avoid the chopping block.

Isaiahh Loudermilk

On the surface, you have gotten exactly what the scouting report said on Isaiahh Loudermilk (making it all the more curious why this team traded up for him a few years back). He is an average rotational depth player and not much else. That said, he retained his spot on the roster and continued to serve in that role.

It seems like the Steelers got two similar players that could force him off the roster though. They signed veteran Dean Lowry, and he is a better version of Loudermilk at this point in his career. I expect him to be the primary backup end. The team also drafted Logan Lee, who is a similar player with a slightly higher ceiling and a marginally better athletic profile.

While there is still a path to the roster for Loudermilk, it seems murky right now. This will be especially true if DeMarvin Leal gets his career back on track. He has a fighting chance, but I certainly wouldn’t bank on Loudermilk making the final roster right now.

Mark Robinson

For a while, it looked like the Steelers found a late-round gem in Mark Robinson. His first training was electric and he was constantly around the ball. He eventually found his way onto the field as a rookie in a limited capacity, and he looked good all things considered.

Pittsburgh thanked him by revamping the linebacker room with four notable names last offseason. They even came out and said that maybe 2024 would be his time to shine. Well, that doesn’t seem like the case either, as Patrick Queen and rookie Payton Wilson are already ahead of him on the depth chart.

The first domino to fall will be Cole Holcomb. If he can’t play for the early part of the season, Robinson's spot should be safe for another year. If he can get healthy though, the team could find a better special teams option or even just carry four linebackers. He is certainly fighting for his roster spot this offseason.

Calvin Austin

There seems to be a small cult of fans who believe Calvin Austin is a great player already. While I was happy with the selection in the fourth round a few years back, he hasn’t proven anything yet, but that didn’t stop some people from claiming that the team has their second receiver in him already.

In short, his roster spot is far from secure, and the receiver room is extremely crowded with middling options. While George Pickens and Roman Wilson will occupy two of the spots, the remaining three are wide open. In addition to Austin, the Steelers have a trio of similar low-end free agents that they signed. You also can’t discount the future players that were signed after the season ended.

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While I will give Austin the slight advantage, for now, his roster spot is written in pencil, not pen. You would also have hoped to hear some positives out of him in OTAs, as his speed and quickness should have him thriving there. He needs to make a jump forward to secure his spot this year.