Jordan Hall tries to break a tackle.
There are few clues better to roster cuts than the depth chart. Steelers’ communications coordinator Burt Lauten announced that the first depth chart of training camp was released on Sunday. It provided everyone with a preview of what to expect when it comes to roster cuts. For several players, it only confirmed what has already been observed in camp—that their time as a member of the Steelers is soon to be over.
Lanear Sampson, WR
The Steelers may lack experience at receiver, but they do have a lot of talent. They have seven receivers in camp who are locks or have a legitimate opportunity to make the roster. Lanear Sampson is not in that group.
He was signed to a reserve/future contract back in January. Typically, these players are used to provide depth during training camp, and that is exactly what Sampson has done.
Sampson entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Indianapolis Colts and later signed on to the Dallas Cowboys practice squad. This experience has not helped him, as he is primarily running at or near the bottom of the wide receiver rotation.
Jordan Hall, RB
Jordan Hall was a late addition to the Steelers roster. They needed an additional running back, and he could do that and more. His versatility, as noted by Jeff Hartman of Behind the Steel Curtain, made him a valuable depth player for training camp.
However, the Steelers have another versatile running back in camp who is garnering all of the attention. Dri Archer is playing all over the field and showing everyone his elite speed. That makes it difficult for Hall—another undersized running back—to stand out.
Hall has not been able to show his burst and has had only a few nice runs. He has also had his issues with blocking, as reported by Ken Laird of TribLive Radio.
Even though the Steelers don’t have much depth at running back, Hall hasn’t been able to stand out in any way.
Jawan Jamison, RB
Jawan Jamison signed with the Steelers during training camp to replace an injured Alvester Alexander. That is all you need to know about his chances.
Though he weighs more than Archer does, he is shorter and doesn’t appear to have much lower-body strength. In his few days at practices, he hasn’t shown anything special, which isn’t surprising given his experience with the Washington Redskins last season.
Rich Tandler of CSN Washington summed up his brief experience in Washington:
Emmanuel McCray, OT
The Steelers may have a talented starting offensive line, but they lack depth at the position. That will leave the door open for a young player to step up and seize his opportunity.
Emmanuel McCray will not be one of those players. He has looked like the worst offensive lineman in training camp. Defensive linemen have physically dominated him and have knocked him to the ground numerous times.
There will be several players competing for a spot on the depth chart, but McCray will not be one of them.
Roy Philon, NT
There is a quick and easy test to see how well a player is performing in training camp. All you need to do is go to Twitter and search his name. You’ll find that you either have the next superstar or the biggest bust in the history of the NFL.
What are the results for Philon? Nothing.
Philon has yet to make an impact in training camp, and that is never a good sign. With Hebron Fangupo and Daniel McCullers fighting it out for what may be one of the final roster spots, Philon does not stand a chance
Dan Molls, LB
If you refer to the tweet above, you will notice that Dan Molls was one of the players the Steelers signed to a reserve/future contract back in January. Like Sampson, Molls does not stand a chance at making the roster.
He is playing inside linebacker, where the Steelers are very deep with talent. He is at the very bottom of the depth chart, even behind Jordan Zumwalt, who has been out of practice with an injury.
Lew Toler, CB
Lew Toler was signed right at the start of training camp to provide depth at cornerback.
Toler was productive at Western Michigan and Rutgers, where he had 180 tackles and eight interceptions in 43 games, per Mike Wilkening of Pro Football Talk. He hasn’t shown much through the opening week of training camp.
Though the Steelers are looking to boost their depth at cornerback, Toler is not one of the top options right now. He is behind every other cornerback on the roster.