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New Faces 2017: QB Bart Houston

We are now at a point during the offseason in which we find ourselves looking at training camp just around the corner for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the rest of the league, and a lot has changed for them over the course of the past several months. They have lost a number of players in free agency, through releases, and retirements. But they have also brought in a number of new faces to replace them.

We all know that roster turnover is an ever-present reality for today’s rosters, and it seems that over the course of the past half-decade or so even the Steelers have proven to be as susceptible to the annual shakeup as anybody. With that in mind, we should take the time to get to know some of the new faces with training camp soon to be here.

There seem to be at least a couple of people who are hoping and praying every night that he makes the roster and kicks Landry Jones to the curb, so I suppose we might as well talk about rookie undrafted free agent quarterback Bart Houston. I do have to provide a spoiler alert for those intensely interested in his development, however: he is not going to make the roster, and Jones is.

The California native was actually a teammate of first-round pick T.J. Watt’s in Wisconsin. Named after Bart Starr, the Hall of Fame Green Bay quarterback, the pairing just made sense. But he was not a full-time starter there.

In fact, during his four seasons, Houston threw just 192 passes, completing 125 for 1540 yards with nine touchdowns and five interceptions. The bulk of that came during his senior season, completing 96 of 141 passes for 1245 yards, five touchdowns, and three interceptions.

As a matter of fact, Houston was not even the first “camp arm” quarterback that the Steelers signed immediately after the draft. That would be Nick Schuessler, who was signed in the initial wave of undrafted free agents after the draft.

It is worth remembering that the Steelers at this time still had Zach Mettenberger on the 90-man roster, who was their third-string quarterback a year ago. But with the drafting of Joshua Dobbs, he was not even kept as competition, or a camp arm. Whether or not it is surprising that he remains unsigned is arguable.

The Steelers did not replace Schuessler with Houston until about three weeks after the conclusion of the draft, but the Wisonsin product has been here since, and he got the opportunity to play the majority of the second half of their first preseason game.

Unsurprisingly, he struggled with his accuracy, as he has throughout training camp, overthrowing on a couple of wide-open deep balls. He ultimately completed two of seven passes for 24 yards, though at least one incompletion was a drop.

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