The Pittsburgh Steelers have had a disappointing past two seasons with repeat 8-8 performances. The team begins to put all of that behind them when their Preseason begins against the New York Giants on Saturday August 9th. I’m just ecstatic that football is back at all but there are a bunch of players I’m excited to see take the field this weekend. For the purposes of this article however, I’ll narrow it down to five.
RB Dri Archer
The Steelers drafted Chris Rainey in the fifth round of the 2012 draft to be a playmaker on offense. Fast forward two years and Rainey is out of the league and the Steelers drafted Dri Archer in the third round. Archer has looked every bit the playmaker the Steelers have wanted on offense and the rookie will also be returning kicks. Though Archer is on the smaller side, he will give the Steelers the versatility to line almost everywhere on offense with the added benefits he adds on special teams. Personally I want to see if Archer can step up and become the return man the Steelers desperately need.
CB Antwon Blake
Antwon Blake has been used as a special teams player for the majority of his career. I honestly didn’t think Blake would ever contribute on defense and just be a really good special teams guy for the Steelers. In camp however, Blake has been impressing in coverage and I’m excited to see if he can carry that over to a game setting. The Steelers need the secondary to step up this season and it would be great if Blake came out of nowhere to help on defense.
NT Daniel McCullers
Fans have been clamoring for a true 3-4 nose tackle ever since Steve McLendon took over for Casey Hampton last season. McLendon actually did a very good job in his first season as the starter but he’s seen by most of us more as a defensive end than a tackle. McCullers has been a beast in training camp though it’ll be interesting to see if he can hold his own against actual competition. The Steelers may have just found the last piece to their completely re-worked defensive line. The future could be Stephon Tuitt, Daniel McCullers and Cameron Heyward.
WR Justin Brown
When the Steelers drafted Justin Brown I thought that it would end up being a wasted pick. The only thing that kept me from completely questioning the pick was that the Steelers had hit similarly with Antonio Brown late in the draft as well. Now in his second season, Justin Brown has had a very good camp and should open the season as the number four receiver on the depth chart. Brown can also return kicks which makes it even more unlikely that he doesn’t make the team. I just want to see Brown continue his solid play and catch anything and everything thrown to him in the game.
LB Sean Spence
I think it’s pretty obvious why I have Sean Spence on this list. After the Steelers drafted Spence in the third round of the 2012 draft, it was thought he would play a major role on defense. Unfortunately we all know what happened and this game will be the first for Spence since his injury two years ago. Spence has not only made his comeback he has been flying around in camp and could even start in place of an injured Ryan Shazier. Regardless of whether he starts or is fourth string, I just want to see Sean Spence play football again. It’s just a bonus to hear that he’s been so good in his return.