Five Steelers Players Who Can Improve Their Standing In Training Camp

As we continue to march through the dead space between the end of minicamp in mid-June and the beginning of training camp in late July, we are beginning to see more and more preview-type features in the build-up.

Among those features that seem to be gaining steam at the moment are the ‘camp phenom’ predictions, and I’ve deliberately avoided looking at these in too much detail so that I can make my own, unbiased predictions.

Of course, this is to be taken with a grain of salt as the opinions of somebody who hasn’t seen any of these players in a practice. Rather, I can only base my opinions either on prior game tape or the first-hand accounts of others.

It should also be noted that I’m using the term not necessarily as somebody who has an incredible run during training camp, but rather somebody who simply improves his stature within the team. Many of them may not be popular choices. With one exception, I have avoided players who are seemingly locked into a roster spot already, such as the high draft picks.

With that in mind, these would be my top five candidates I believe are most likely to solidify a roster spot or their position on the team with a strong camp showing this year, in alphabetical order:

Brian Arnfelt: Arnfelt, the second-year former undrafted defensive end, would seem to be a natural candidate here. As a rookie, he wound up playing the second-most snaps for the Steelers during the preseason, and he showed an awareness of scheme and technique in the process.

He made it to the practice squad behind a deep rotation of defensive ends on the roster last year before being called up late in the year, and I don’t suspect he wants to go back down. He figures to make himself a feature within the defensive line rotation if he picks up where he left off last summer.

Chris Carter: Carter certainly isn’t one of the more popular players on the Steelers, even if he was briefly viewed as promising as a rookie because of his speed around the edge when he had to come in against the Patriots.

He has had his playing opportunities over the last couple years, and hasn’t shown much, but he has been getting positive reports so far this summer, and he knows he must perform or he could find himself without a team. I think he will solidify himself as the fourth outside linebacker in the preseason.

Landry Jones: Another fan favorite, last year’s fourth-round quarterback had a pretty shaky rookie season. He displayed obvious mechanical flaws and struggled with his reads during the preseason. This year, he has taken a good number of reps with the second-team and reportedly has shown some improvement. I don’t know that he will be able to win the backup job, but I sense that he will start to earn his place on this roster.

Shaquille Richardson: The rookie cornerback Richardson came about four rounds later than many people would have liked. But he could prove to be an intriguing candidate. Reports suggest that he’s had a steady, quiet offseason thus far, and seems to have the potential to make the roster as a rookie. One of his unique features among most of the reserve defensive backs is his 6-foot height, which plays in his favor.

Brad Wing: It’s rare that a punter would even be in this discussion, but given his college resume, and the Steelers’ recent woes in this areas, it makes sense in this case. His competition is a former fourth-round pick who has faced his struggles with consistency over the past two seasons—much like the two punters the Steelers had last year. Wing has the chance to seize an opportunity here.

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Geoff Cordner

    Would love Brad Wing to be our starting P! Even if he’s a bit crazy.. it would keep things entertaining. As for Landry Jones – lets just pray he never has to throw the ball for the Steelers!

  • 20Stoney

    I’d add Antwon Blake to this list.

  • Weiss Chad

    Brian arnfelt,Antwon Blake,Justin brown,sean spence,and rob blanchflower..that’s my list Imo of players that have chance of improving stock w steelers.I agree 100 percent w list above and tried to come up w my own.(arnfelt I like so much I copy cat)

  • steeltown

    Man I hope Shaq Richardson can hang around this year, he should only improve throughout the season and heading into the ’15 offseason with 1yr under his belt he could be a much bigger contributor.

    Definitely hoping Arnfelt makes the 53man, we need the depth

  • ApexSteel

    I doubt Landry can be cut if they won’t even let Brendon Key compete with him so all he can really do is prove he doesn’t completely suck. And I’ve never understood the Arnfelt hype so he has a lot to prove.

  • falconsaftey43

    It would be nice if Jones showed some huge improvement to justify his spot a little since it does appear that he doesn’t truly have to earn a spot.

  • Deuce22

    A sleeper I have on my list is UDFA rookie Howard Jones. He has a lot of raw talent and I think with a good showing at training camp he may push for a roster spot.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    If you’re going to pray for the guy why not pray he becomes a stud QB that takes over for Ben when he retires and goes to the pro bowl?

    Praying for a steeler prospect to fail or not get a chance?

  • Geoff Cordner

    If he plays then it means that Ben is injured. If he never plays a down then it means that Ben plays for another 3 years and gets all the snaps.

    Truth is, he won’t be the one to take over for Ben when he retires.. there is no magic wand strong enough to make that kind of transformation! The replacement for Ben isn’t on the roster, at the moment.

  • dgh57

    I would like to see Wesley Johnson make a good showing in Training Camp as we’ll need a replacement for Beachum who can play anywhere across the OL.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    Who do you pray to that couldn’t even help Landry become a starting QB?

  • dgh57

    His hype comes from what he put on tape last preseason. He did a good job of taking on double teams and getting down the line to make tackles.

  • Geoff Cordner

    you got really stuck on the word “pray”. Eric, replace the word with “hope” and you get my point.. and, if you believe that Landry Jones is going to be a future Elite QB then you know something I don’t.

  • ApexSteel

    He was good against the 3rd and 4th stringers. As was Adrian Robinson.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    I got more stuck on the idea of a fan wishing for bad things to happen.

    I think what I know that you don’t is that neither of us are able to evaluate him yet and his first training camp tells you nothing at all.

    Being doubtful makes sense but being sure doesn’t.

  • Steelers12328882

    C’mon Brad Wing!!!

  • dgh57

    That’s true but he performed above his status as a udfa. They saw enough in the preseason to put him on the PS so they could get a further look at him.

  • steeltown

    Agreed

  • cencalsteeler

    Curiosity has my attention on Mr. McCullers

  • Steve

    He’s talking about the other Jones called Landry.

  • Steve

    Got to be better than what we had last year.

  • Rupert

    Don’t forget Tuitt…he may crack the lineup if he can use pure strength and athleticism to put pressure on the QB and stuff the run at camp or pick up the scheme in the next 25 days. I’m not saying that he will but that he has the opportunity. And, I think out of the 5 listed above, Tuitt is most compelling.

  • walter mason

    Tuitt is a high draft pick and pretty much a lock so is not included in Matthews list.

  • dgh57

    Please read the 2nd sentence in Apex original post. We are talking about Arnfelt.

  • Rupert

    Valid point…second round is a high draft pick. I just wouldn’t agree that he’s a lock…but I did forget that premise.

  • Matt Manzo

    Agree with all the ones listed. But I expect them to have a good camp and make the roster. Zumwalt is one that if he has a great camp it will be hard to cut him. Mcullers too, a lot of people are thinking ps for these guys, but with great, not just good camps, they’ll make the team!

  • Weiss Chad

    If he can translate what he does on special teams to defense,kid could be very good..Isiah green also..

  • grw1960

    TE Eric waters , G Wesley Johnson, DE Arnfelt and the Mountain . McCullers

  • Virdin Barzey

    Sorry, your third string QB should be your future. Anyone has confidence than Landy can be that future? He’s questionable as a future backup.

    Chris Carter? Good luck. Not hating on the kid but for a guy that has been around for a while still looks lost at times. Did someone say Sylvester?

    If Wing brings it, I agree, its his job. Talk about taking advantage of the moment. None bigger than camp for him. Hope he does.

    Shaq is another one that has a window of opportunity. Don’t like his quiet mini-camp. If he hasn’t noticed Ike’s tenure is coming up so he better start showing what he can do.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    It;s not that I hate Carter he just hasn’t performed to a level that even warrants a roster spot. I hope he does a Worlids but he has done nothing as of yet to change that opinion

  • Weiss Chad

    I like his quiet otas.That says to me in a cornerbacks case that he may not be lighting it up but he isn’t getting beat all the time either.As far as Tuitt goes that scares me a tiny bit about how quiet it’s been for him.Cant wait to go to training camp and see him w pads on to see if he can’t light it up a bit

  • Riverstko

    I hope Wing get the punter spot. I would love to see a few trick plays from him this season.

  • Riverstko

    I Like TE Waters. He reminds me of the new hybrid TEs in the league.