Pittsburgh Steelers: Players Whose Stock Is on the Rise After OTAs
There hasn’t been much information coming out of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ OTAs this year, but you can still get some kind of feeling on what’s going on.
Other than the recent, unfortunate stabbing of Mike Adams, there have been no real injuries of note to report. It’s still early on in the process, but any time the team can get through activities without injury is a good thing to me.
Here are five players who can be considered to be on the rise after the first two OTA sessions.
Al Woods DL
During the first two OTA sessions, Dave Bryan of Steelersdepot.com has reported that Al Woods has been practicing as the second-team nose tackle.
After not retaining Casey Hampton this offseason, the team has been left with Alameda Ta’amu and Hebron Fangupo to backup Steve McLendon. Though McLendon looks poised to have a good season as the No. 1 guy, there has been a question to whether or not Ta’amu or Fangupo would prove capable to be the No. 2.
Al Woods has been a solid backup defensive end for the Steelers and now it looks like he could see more time during the season at the nose. Obviously more playing time is great for any player, especially for a guy like Woods who is in a contract year.
Vince Williams ILB
Vince Williams may be nothing more than a special teams player as a rookie. From what he has shown, however, he looks to have a good future with the team.
Williams has been as impressive as you can be during OTAs and even drew some praise from Lawrence Timmons in an interview with Dan Gigler of Post-Gazette.com.
With the uncertainty surrounding the injured Sean Spence and Larry Foote not getting any younger, Williams has a great shot at becoming a starter for the team in the future. The one thing is going to be whether or not Williams proves he can stay on the field for three downs in the NFL.
The former Florida State Seminole is not the fastest guy and will need to show that he won’t be a liability in coverage on third downs.
At this point, though, Williams has done nothing but impress in his short time as a Pittsburgh Steeler.
Marcus Gilbert LT
Marcus Gilbert entered OTAs with the question mark of whether or not he would even be healthy enough to participate after ending the 2012 season on injured reserve because of an ankle injury.
Gilbert not only participated, but has started both OTA sessions at left tackle and has looked to have the inside track at winning that job. Though Mike Adams seems like he will be ready for the start of training camp, I think the team will keep Gilbert on the left and Adams on the right side.
With the injury to Adams, a lot of pressure falls on Gilbert. If he somehow gets injured, the team would be forced to piece together the offensive line, again. Not that it would necessarily be his fault if he gets injured, but he hasn’t shown the ability to stay healthy to this point.
Right now, Gilbert is healthy and will be manning the blind side of Ben Roethlisberger in 2013.
Guy Whimper OT
I wasn’t the biggest fan of Guy Whimper being signed by the Steelers this offseason and now for nothing done by the player himself, he can be considered on the rise. I don’t think Whimper had a great chance at making the roster out of camp and if a rookie steps up, he still may not.
The injury to Mike Adams helps Whimper more than the rookies in my opinion because he is the lone veteran tackle on the roster. Like I said in the previous slide, it looks like Mike Adams will make a full recovery, but the team may elect to keep the veteran Whimper in case of injury.
At this point, I would see the team trying to stash a rookie like Mike Farrell on the practice squad instead of cutting Whimper.
Adrian Robinson OLB
Adrian Robinson flashed some pass-rushing potential in last year’s preseason and then basically took a redshirt in his rookie season for the Steelers.
In Dave Bryan of Steelersdepot.com’s recap of the first week of OTAs, he noticed that Robinson was now working on the right side instead of the left. The significance to that is the fact that Robinson would then be able to attack the blind side of the quarterback.
Robinson has yet to prove that he can contribute on special teams, but the Steelers didn’t keep him on the roster for all of 2012 for nothing. He has a great shot at making the roster again this season and could take the spot of Chris Carter if the team decides to only keep four outside linebackers.