Circumstances call for more playing time for these four Steelers players

Injuries and fatigue should force the Steelers to call upon these four players more often.
Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages
2 of 4

2. S Keanu Neal

For much of the same reasons, Keanu Neal is a player who should see an uptick in targets for the Steelers. Neal already possesses a significant role on Pittsburgh's defense as a rotational safety, but it's possible that he could become essentially a full-time player soon.

With Cole Holcomb and Kwon Alexander done for the year, the Steelers need linebackers who can cover on third downs and obvious passing situations. Unfortunately, that does not fit the description of either Elandon Roberts or second-year LB Mark Robinson. Both of these linebackers are downhill thumpers who could prove to be liabilities in space if asked to cover too often.

For this reason, Keanu Neal could start to see increased snaps as a subpackage linebacker. At this stage of his career, Neal really is more of a box linebacker than a true safety, and he was never an overly fast player to begin with (Neal ran a 4.62 at the 2016 NFL Combine).

Injuries have slowed Neal over the years, and while he doesn't have great coverage chops, he could still offer more in space than what Mark Robinson or Elandon Roberts will prove to give the Steelers. There might be better options floating around out there, but as a subpackage box defender, Keanu Neal could see more snaps in the wake of Pittsburgh's season-ending injuries at the linebacker position.