The first week of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ training camp is in the books and we’ve made several observations. The pads go on for the first time Monday, but there’s still been plenty of moments to take notes on about several players.
Now with the team’s first day off from practices, it’s time to review who the top performers have been from the perspective of Steelers Now. Chris Carter named his top five performers in training camp for the first week while Nick Farabaugh named the top five players who need to show more in the second week of camp.
Both also gave their insights on what each player has or hasn’t done to stand out so far at St. Vincent.
Carter: Pickens has been a force at training camp each day. He makes tough grabs with his hands from various angles. I’ve seen him beat press coverage, off-coverage, and the Steelers’ top cornerbacks. If he continues this with pads on, watch out world.
Farabaugh: Every day of practice, Pickens made it known how much of a force he was out there. Whether it was making absurd catches over established players like Ahkello Witherspoon or eating over the middle of the field, Pickens has made his name known. It is hard to say he was not the star of Steelers camp this week and he is officially on the watch list to potentially have a bigger role than anyone thought.
Carter: There’s no doubt that Rudolph has been the most successful quarterback in team drills during camp so far. Those who thought he would just fade away in the quarterback competition were mistaken, and he’s shown why the Steelers made sure to keep him. But he does have a distinct advantage that he faces the second team defense while Mitch Trubisky has to beat a first team defense that has played lights out.
Farabaugh: Rudolph has stepped up in a way that no one saw coming up to this point. Is he really all that flashy? No, not really. However, Rudolph has played, for the most part, mistake-free football up to this point. He has made the right reads and been aggressive to push the ball down the field when necessary. That is a nice change of pace from some of Rudolph’s game tape. If this continues, do not count him out.
Carter: I had Jack as one of the more important moves this offseason because he is a stabilizing presence at linebacker. He’s proven to be that in the first week with solid coverage reps against receivers, tight ends and running backs. If he and Devin Bush play like this when the pads go on, the Steelers will be set at linebacker.
Farabaugh: Talk about a buzzsaw in coverage, Jack qualifies under that definition. Saturday was his best day as a whole, and it showcased just what he can do. He is fluid, highly intelligent, and has the physicality to make players feel him. Jack has a legitimate chance to be the best Steelers coverage linebacker since Ryan Shazier if this week is any indication. He could be a significant addition alongside Bush.