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Steelers Safety Could be the Surprise of Training Camp



Steelers Elijah Riley

Training camp is coming up in only a few days. On Wednesday, Steelers players will report to Latrobe for their conditioning run. Then, on Thursday, they will take the field for their first practice. But who could stand out as a sleeper that no one sees coming? How about none other than veteran defensive back and slot cornerback Elijah Riley?

No one is talking about Riley, but they probably should be. At Steelers OTAs and minicamp, Riley proved to be the definition of a ballhawk. He forced two fumbles and nabbed an interception over those weeks, impressing coaches.

The thing about Riley is that he’s already played in a number of games for the Steelers. He played in last year’s Raiders game and gave the team valuable reps. He’s been in the system for a number of years and has proven to be a guy they can elevate off the practice squad in a pinch and not worry about.

“I’ll tell you what, he can play in this league,” secondary coach Grady Brown said at minicamp. “You go back to the Raiders game and he gave us some really valuable reps. It’s just about building consistency. But there’s no doubt he can play in this league.”

Riley’s background is a unique one. Coming out of Army, the cadet knew the value of discipline and hard work. Now with the Steelers needing help in the slot and depth at safety, Riley is hoping to seize the opportunity.

“West Point has prepared me for a lot,” Riley said. “I don’t think I’m gonna face too much harder than there, you know? It set the stage for the adversity that I’d face. The only thing guaranteed is change, so constantly learning and growing, I’m trying to put my best foot forward.”

Take it from him, he’s not going to back down. The depth spots at safety are open and slot and special teams versatility is valued. Riley checks those boxes. If he can be a playmaker as he was in the spring, Riley could be a surprise standout.

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