6 sleepers you should be closely watching at Steelers OTAs
By Andrew Falce
With the Steelers officially starting their organized team activities (OTAs) this week, the offseason is beginning to shift its focus to training camp. Battles aren’t won and lost during this time, but it does provide players with an opportunity to add some value to their name before the team reports to Latrobe.
Personally, I love hearing stories about fast-rising players. Just a few years ago Mike Hilton was in this boat. Unknown heading into that offseason, he played hard during every practice and had some positive notes about him heading into camp. The rest was history.
While every positive name won’t have those same results, it will be key to see what players are impressing so early in the offseason. Important to note, rookies will not be included on this list, as everyone is eager to see how the investments look right now. With that said, here are the six players I am closely following during OTAs.
Did Steelers find a sleeper in Hakeem Butler?
Hakeem Butler was a late addition to the roster, coming over from the XFL after a solid season there. He was a hot name a few years ago heading into the draft given his size and athletic testing. Nothing materialized though for the former fourth-round pick, and he is still looking for his first NFL reception.
Butler has the size and speed that you can’t teach, but he is a poor route runner and has suspect hands. He was a playmaker in the XFL, but can he sustain that against NFL-caliber players? Luckily for him, the Steelers have a wide-open spot at their sixth receiver spot, and if he can continue the success he found, he could lock up a role there.
In theory, a player like Butler should thrive here, as contact is light and he can use his traits to dominate. While his roster odds aren’t great, I am excited to see him work this offseason. His path is clear, and it starts now for Butler.