Pittsburgh Steelers June Scouting Report
After an uncharacteristically turbulent end to last season and pre-draft offseason things have turned down right serene in Pittsburgh. No disgruntled stars. No expected holdouts. No surprises or injuries in minicamp. Expectations are also probably lower than any time in the HC Mike Tomlin era. Don't sleep on the Steelers despite the talent added by the Browns and the seeming resurgence of the Ravens. Pro Football Focus still ranks the Steelers roster as having the 8th most talent in the league.
QB: The season at least from an offensive point of view revolves around QB Ben Roethlisberger. An injury to him would be disastrous. QB Josh Dobbs and QB Mason Rudolph will battle for backup duty. The hope has to be that Rudolph will take a step forward. If Roethlisberger is sacked 25 times this season he will break the all time record for being sacked in a career of 525 currently held by QB Brett Favre. Roethlisberger was sacked 24 times last season.
RB: The unquestioned feature back is RB James Conner. Your guess is as good as mine whether RB Jaylen Samuels or RB Benny Snell is the proper handcuff for those that like such things. Samuels is a versatile power back that can also contribute in the passing game and perhaps pitch in as a backup tight end and slot receiver. Snell is a throwback between the tackles pounder.
WR The only must have at the receiver position from a fantasy perspective is of course WR JuJu Smith-Schuster. The development of Smith-Schuster helps somewhat to temper the loss of WR Antonio Brown. WR Donte Moncrief, WR James Washington and WR Diontea Johnson will battle for fantasy relevance opposite Smith-Schuster. Johnson will likely need a year of development coming out of the MAC. The Steelers would undoubtedly like to see Washington take the next step. Position coach Daryl Drake has been very complimentary of Moncrief in the early going. Pay attention to camp and the preseason, they will matter in this competition. WR Ryan Switzer and WR Eli Rogers are likely to battle for one roster spot as the slot receiver. Switzer has an advantage because of his punt/kick return ability. Neither are realistic fantasy options.
TE: There is no real competition for TE Vance McDonald. He is a solid, low end fantasy option that just needs to stay healthy to put up borderline top 10 stats at the tight end position.
K: Last season was a nightmare for PK Chris Boswell. The leash has to be very short for him. Should he eventually force the Steelers to make a move his replacement is probably not on the roster. Rookie free agent PK Matt Wright appears to be a camp leg at best.
ST/DEF: The plan is for the defense to revolve around the last three first round picks OLB TJ Watt, SS Terrell Edmunds and perhaps most importantly ILB Devin Bush. Add in a solid three man defensive line, CB Joe Haden and CB Steven Nelson and there is a basis for an improved defense from a pure talent standpoint. The scheme of coordinator Kevin Butler does not lend itself to fantasy production. While the team is generally near the top in sacks, they are very poor at turning over opponents.
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Sunday, September 13th, 2020
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