Training camp is where players earn a roster spot and the right to put on the Pittsburgh Steelers uniform on Sundays. On every team there are the guys that the fans know will make the team, i.e. Rashard Mendenhall, Heath Miller, Big Ben, etc. However there are always a few players every year that do not make the cut who surprise us all.
This is a list of players who many fans might think are locks for this season, however, I think have a chance to not make the cut.
I believe that David Johnson could be a breakout player for the Steelers this upcoming season if given the chance.
However, this really depends on how many tight ends the Steelers decide to keep on the roster since they have Heath Miller, Sean McHugh, and Matt Spaeth as well.
Heath Miller is obviously a lock and I believe that McHugh is going to make the team as well, so that leaves a competition between Spaeth and Johnson.
I am a Johnson fan and am hoping that he shows the Steelers that he has developed more as a blocker and pass catcher.
In his two seasons as a Pittsburgh Steeler, Keyaron Fox has been a good special teams player and a capable backup.
Fox filled in for an injured Lawrence Timmons at times last season. His play was highlighted by a game-clinching interception return for touchdown against the Vikings.
Right now, the Steelers are pretty set at linebacker and Fox is probably fighting for that top backup spot on the inside with veteran Larry Foote and rookie Stevenson Sylvester.
Fox and Foote have the edge over the rookie since they know the system, however I have a feeling that Sylvester is going to show a lot in camp and make the final roster. That means someone is going to be left out.
After a disaster of a season last year, I do not think I have to really explain why William Gay is on the bubble in training camp.
He looked completely over matched pretty much all season and the Steelers brought back Bryant McFadden who Gay was supposed to be replacing.
I still have faith that Gay can turn his career around, especially since he will not have to be the starting guy. However, if he does not show the type of improvement that the coaches need, he could done in Pittsburgh.
Matt Spaeth’s career started with a lot of promise with three touchdowns in his first few games as a rookie.
However, Spaeth got injured and has never been that redzone threat that he had been for that short period of time.
Last season he had only five receptions and one touchdown. He has not really developed his blocking as well as the coaches would like at this point in his career.
Spaeth signed his one-year tender offer from the Steelers for this year. However, if he does not show something more in camp I think he could be out of Pittsburgh before the season starts.
Foote spent his first seven years in the league with the Pittsburgh Steelers before leaving in free agency and signing with the Detroit Lions.
The Steelers did not part ways with Foote because of bad play, however, because of the emergence of now starter Lawrence Timmons.
Foote is now fighting to become the primary backup linebacker and could push starter James Farrior for playing time on passing downs.
Foote has a leg up on veteran Keyaron Fox and rookie Stevenson Sylvester. However, if both of those two make the team, then Foote could be on the outside looking in.
Joe Burnett was drafted in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL draft by the Steelers and had 17 tackles as a rookie.
With Bryant McFadden back with the Steelers, there is a battle for that third corner between Burnett, William Gay, and Kennan Lewis.
Even after a horrendous season by Gay, he still has more experience than both Burnett and Lewis and has a slight edge on the two of them.
I believe that Lewis has more potential than Burnett. Also rookie Crezdon Butler has been showing a lot at camp so far so Burnett could be the one who is cut.
Flozell Adams is a 13-year veteran in the league and was cut earlier in the offseason by the Dallas Cowboys.
Adams started all 16 games last season for the Cowboys, but is now aging and declining allowing 8.5 sacks in 2009.
Even though Adams is not what he once was, the Steelers needed a tackle with starter Willie Colon out for the season with a knee injury.
However, I believe that if Trai Essex, Jonathan Scott, or any other younger offensive lineman shows that they can step in and start at that tackle position, Flozell Adams might not make the final roster.
This may be a surprise choice to some people however I think that Randle El could be on the bubble in this camp.
He has openly come out and said that he is not going to be used on special teams and is now in his ninth year in the league at 30-years-old.
Randle El is not as quick or fast as he once was and there are two rookies in Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown who are fighting for spots, not to mention veteran Arnaz Battle who could be a big player on special teams.
If Antonio Brown really impresses in camp, I could see the Steelers cutting ties with Randle El before the season starts. Most fans believe that El would be passed up on the depth chart at some time during the season anyway.
Justin Hartwig was definitely an upgrade over former Steeler Sean Mahan, but he has really fallen out of favor with the fans.
He seemed to struggle last season and the Steelers are trying to upgrade their offensive line to help both the running and passing game.
The Steelers could opt to keep Hartwig for this season until his contract runs out to give rookie Maurkice Pouncey some time to develop at guard.
However, if the Steelers get comfortable enough with the rest of their offensive line, they could cut Hartwig and have Pouncey start right away at center.
This I think will be one of the hardest decisions the Steelers have to make this offseason in camp as James Farrior is a fan favorite and has been one of the leaders of the Steelers defense since he was signed as a free agent in 2002.
Farrior is a former Defensive Player of the Year candidate, but last season, he clearly lost a step and was a liability in coverage.
Many people think that it is time to cut ties with Farrior and the Steelers have a long history of releasing players that they think are past their prime, i.e. Jason Gildon, etc.
I am a big Farrior fan and I am rooting for him to show the Steelers that he has something left in the tank so that he can finish his career here and retire as a Pittsburgh Steeler.