PITTSBURGH — One of the many challenges of the first week of the NFL seasons involves a great deal of unknowns when it comes to the makeup of the opposition depth chart and work share.
Sure, there are official depth charts listed, but coaches have been known to attempt to minimize the contributions of a player or two in order to gain a strategic advantage for the opener.
That’s particularly the case when it comes to rookies that have no previous-year film and often have only been seen playing the most vanilla of schemes during the preseason.
The Steelers have done that with first-round pick Devin Bush, who is currently slotted behind Mark Barron at right inside linebacker, but is expected to play a great deal on Sunday.
Another player in that scenario could be Chase Winovich. A third-round pick out of Michigan, Winovich, who is a Jefferson Hills, Pa. native and Thomas Jefferson High School alum, is expected to have a role as a pass-rushing defensive end after racking up 2 1/2 sacks in three preseason games.
But he’s currently listed as the No. 2 left defensive end behind third-year man Deatrich Wise, Jr. Regardless, the Steelers will be well prepared for the local product, who was high on their own draft board this spring.
“He’s had an awesome preseason,” head coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday. “I really have a lot of respect for him. Through draft preparation I saw a lot of him. He’s a quality edge rusher. … He just had a lot of traits that were similar to [T.J.] Watt. He was mature beyond his years in terms of his skills relative to his position. His hand usage, his awareness in terms of his rush. His overall in game awareness. His motor. He had a lot of positive attributes.”