As the Pittsburgh Steelers preseason came to an end against the Carolina Panthers Thursday night, it was the last opportunity for players to make an impact on the coaching staff.
With the starting lineup set, it was the young players who had a chance to showcase their skills, as well as some veteran backups.
Several players secured their roster spots, while for others it was too little too late.
Here are the players who had their stock rise in the Steelers final preseason game.
As if there was any doubt, Charlie Batch is clearly the backup quarterback while Byron Leftwich is out.
Batch had his best outing in the preseason completing 6-of-8 passes for 59 yards as he helped drive the Steelers on their opening possession 80 yards on 10 plays for a touchdown.
Meanwhile, Dennis Dixon struggled at times and did not look to be anything more than a third string quarterback.
After missing most of training camp and the preseason with a foot injury, Emmanuel Sanders was back on the field and helped reinforce the idea that the Steelers will have one of the deepest wide receiving corps in the league.
Sanders did not look to be slowed and caught four passes for 60 yards.
He appeared to be smooth in running routes. However, he may have had one mental mistake on an incomplete pass by Dixon in which Sanders immediately patted himself on the chest after the ball hit the ground.
As he continues to recover, Sanders may find himself fourth on the depth chart with Antonio Brown ahead of him, but before long Sanders will be doing great work out of the slot.
Jonathan Dwyer is not a practice player. At times he looks slow and lacking in effort.
When it comes to suiting up for games, he looks for a different player.
Thursday night was no exception to that rule. Dwyer did what he was suppose to do against his competition—run all over them.
Dwyer finished with 88 yards on 13 carries, including a 50-yard touchdown run.
This performance was likely good enough to lock down a roster spot for at least the start of the regular season.
One of the undrafted free agents to watch, Weslye Saunders from South Carolina seemed to improve throughout camp but had few chances in the first three preseason games.
Saunders has plenty of work to do on his blocking but began to show what he could do as a receiver against Carolina.
He had three receptions for 32 yards with a fourth quarter touchdown reception.
Though he may not be ready to contribute in the regular season, Saunders has enough potential to earn a roster spot.
Pittsburgh’s third round draft choice, Curtis Brown, was expected to contribute on defense and Thursday night he began to show why.
Brown was credited with four tackles but more impressive were his two pass defenses.
Brown knocked away one pass on a quick slant deep in their own territory.
Cortez Allen had a great start to training camp.
As a player who was consider to be raw and years away, Allen held his own and was finally able to get back on the field this week.
Allen tipped a pass which was then intercepted by Will Allen. Later he nearly had an interception but was unable to hold on with his diving attempt.
It will take time for Allen to develop but he began to show some of his upside and he has way too much upside to not make the final roster.
Morty Ivy had a solid game against Carolina with a sack, a tackle for a loss, a pass defense and a quarterback hit while accumulating near double digits in tackles.
Donovan Warren has been solid throughout the preseason. However, he has a lot of drafted cornerbacks ahead of him.
Wes Lyons had a nice diving catch and I would like to see him on the practice squad.
I wish Mario Harvey would have been able to play more than just this preseason game.
The Steelers defensive line is stacked. Two deep at defensive end and three deep at nose tackle.
Another well-called game on offense. Go figure, a lockout year and the offense looks great despite no offseason workouts.
Will the offense be ahead of the defense this year?
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