Need evidence for the value of training camp? Just look at the development of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Last year, Brown arrived at camp with the need to improve his grasp of the offensive scheme and develop as a route-runner.
Early on, he struggled and appeared as though he would remain at the bottom of the depth chart. However, after a series of injuries, Brown had the opportunity to get reps with the starters and took full advantage of it.
With the extra reps in practice, Brown showed vast improvement and began to demonstrate that he could become a major part of the offense. That is exactly what he did.
Brown would eventually earn a significant role with the offense and gain 1,108 receiving yards on 69 receptions. He became the first player in NFL history to achieve over 1,000 receiving yards and 1,000 return yards in the same season.
If not for the opportunity presented to Brown last year in camp, he may still be buried deep on the depth chart awaiting a chance to prove himself. But he did get a chance and made the most of it. That is all any player can ask for—a chance.
Things will be more difficult for the young receivers on the roster this year as the depth charts are just about set at wide receiver and tight end. That does not mean a young player cannot stand out.
Though the reps may be limited, a young player will still have a chance to catch the coaches’ eyes and could eventually turn into the next Antonio Brown.
Here is a preview of the wide receivers and tight ends that will be on the roster come training camp.