Predicting Mike Tomlin's first depth chart ahead of Steelers as training camp

Pittsburgh Steelers, Kenny Pickett
Pittsburgh Steelers, Kenny Pickett / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Steelers IDL depth chart predictions

There are four spots locked up across the defensive line for the Steelers heading into camp. It is likely that Tomlin and company will decide on keeping two, maybe three more players in the trenches on defense. That means five players will enter the arena trying their best to get noticed by coaches in a positive way to beat out two or three of their competitors for a job.

First team: Cam Heyward (DT), Montravius Adams (NT), Larry Ogunjobi (DT)

Some might not like the idea of Montravius Adams anchoring the nose tackle spot to open camp, but it's unusual for a rookie to get a big role before playing a snap. Cam Heyward and Larry Ogunjobi are obvious and will retain their starting roles from last season. Adams will struggle to keep his starting spot at nose tackle, especially if Keeanu Benton lives up to the hype.

Second team: DeMarvin Leal (DT), Keeanu Benton (NT), Armon Watts (DT)

Many have forgotten about DeMarvin Leal, but he will be back and hopefully taking another step forward in year two. Benton will likely take over the nose tackle role and gain snaps at defensive tackle, but he starts camp at this spot. Armon Watts is a quality veteran against the run and a dark horse to make this roster.

Third team: James Nyamwaya (DT), Breiden Fehoko (NT), Manny Jones/Jonathan Marshall (DT)

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises on this initial depth chart is Breiden Fehoko being this far down the depth chart to start. He will likely make the team, but he will have to move in front of Adams, Watts, and others to get significant playing time. Fehoko is another solid run stuffer and should be able to do enough this pre-season to carve out a role.