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Pittsburgh Steelers: Positions to Watch in Team's First Preseason Game

Joseph BrunoCorrespondent IAugust 11, 2016

Pittsburgh Steelers: Positions to Watch in Team's First Preseason Game

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers start the preseason against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday, August 9.

    It is finally time to see how players are truly developing, and how they will react against actual competition.

    While it will be great to see the entire Steelers team in action, here are six positions to keep an eye on.

Outside Linebacker

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    Starting linebacker James Harrison and backup Jason Worilds are both on the PUP list, and LaMarr Woodley has been limited in practice over the last few days.

    This means Chris Carter, undrafted rookie Adrian Robinson and Stevenson Sylvester will receive the bulk of the playing time at OLB.

    Chris Carter has really stepped his game up to this point in camp and I am really looking forward to seeing how he fares against live competition.

Middle Linebacker

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    The middle linebacker position has been pretty quiet in camp, partly due to all the injuries on the outside.

    I’ve heard more about Stevenson Sylvester playing outside than anything he’s done so far at middle linebacker.

    It will be interesting to see who comes in as the main backup on the inside and if Sean Spence has overtaken Sylvester at this point.

Running Back

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    It has been well documented that Rashard Mendenhall is going to start the season on the PUP list and Isaac Redman is now the starter.

    What I will be looking to see is how the rest of the running backs behind Redman—Jonathan Dwyer, Chris Rainey, Baron Batch and John Clay—are progressing.

    The Steelers have a lot of potential with the running backs on the roster. Hopefully, they will all start to actually play to those expectations.

Wide Receiver

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    Even if Mike Wallace was signed and in camp, I’d still be more interested to see how the younger guys fared in this game.

    Antonio Brown has looked great so far, while Jerricho Cotchery and Emmanuel Sanders have been solid as well.

    The real question is which receiver is going to prove they can be relied on to actually catch the passes thrown to them.

Safety

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    Other than Troy Polamalu looking great and Ryan Clark getting into the occasional scuffle, there hasn’t been much buzz from the safety position.

    Even though there is a strong possibility that somehow Will Allen will make the 53-man roster, I am still rooting for someone to take him down.

    With Ryan Clark out for Week 1 against Denver, the team may keep an extra safety. We’ll see who has the early edge between Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith, Myron Rolle and Robert Golden.

Cornerback

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    This has been one of the more intense battles in camp so far with both Keenan Lewis and Cortez Allen showing well early.

    With most of the attention going to Lewis and Allen, it will be interesting to see how Curtis Brown is developing as well.

    We tend to forget there is really only one spot up for grabs at this position and I’ll be looking at guys like Terrence Frederick, Andre Freeman and Josh Victorian to see how the pecking order lays out at the moment.

Rookies

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    One thing I’m always excited to see in the preseason, irrespective of position, is all the new rookies on the team.

    Whether it’s the incoming draft class or undrafted guys, they're always among the most anticipated players to see in action. It will be great to see what kind of future the Steelers have.

    Although a good percentage of these guys won’t make the final roster, that doesn’t mean they can’t someday help the team.

    After all, just a few years ago, undrafted running back Isaac Redman had to wait a year on the practice squad before getting his real shot on the roster.

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