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Steelers Minicamp Standouts: Fields Looks the Part, Rookie Beyond His Years

Pittsburgh Steelers Minicamp Standouts: Justin Fields looks the part, Beanie Bishop does not play like a rookie.

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Pittsburgh Steelers QB Justin Fields
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Justin Fields during minicamp on June 11, 2024. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — There isn’t a huge difference between the three-day minicamp that the Pittsburgh Steelers are now in the midst of and the three weeks of OTAs that preceded it, but head coach Mike Tomlin did acknowledge after Tuesday’s first practice of the week that it’s a significant step up.

“The closer we get to training camp, the closer our work needs to be more football-like,” Tomlin said. “We acknowledge these drills that we’re doing are football, but not necessarily real football, obviously, because the dress that we’re in and so forth. But you’re starting to infuse some situations, some two-minute, and things of that nature. It really just elevates the teaching and learning and understanding that’s there to be gained and so that’s the mindset that we’re approaching this week.”

With that, here are some standouts from the first practice of minicamp:

JUSTIN FIELDS LOOKS THE PART

Someone who hasn’t been to OTAs that was at practice on Tuesday got his first glimpse of new Steelers quarterback Justin Fields and remarked “I didn’t realize how big he is.”

It helps when he’s standing next to Russell Wilson, but the 6-foot-3, 227-pound Fields is certainly a physical specimen. It stands out even more when he gets loose running. 

You can’t tackle in minicamp, and even in training camp, you can’t tackle quarterbacks, so whenever a defender gets close, the whistle blows. It makes you feel bad for Fields, because with his size, speed and elusiveness, it’s clear a lot of those “tackles” wouldn’t actually be able to bring him down.

Pittsburgh Steelers Cb Beanie Bishop

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Beanie Bishop during OTAs at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, May 21, 2024. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

QUIET IN A GOOD WAY

When you look around the Steelers practice fields this time of year, during OTAs and minicamp, there are plenty of examples of veterans taking young players under their wings with advice and pointers.

Sometimes, it’s a little bit more targeted. You’ll see a rookie make a mistake, and vet call him over after the rep, or grab him by the facemask and let the younger player know what’s up.

One of the few rookies I haven’t seen earn such a correction has been slot cornerback Beanie Bishop. Bishop has been very consistent since arriving as a UDFA out of West Virginia, and in a time and place where rookies are essentially supposed to be making mistakes, he just simply hasn’t.

DEEP SLEEPER

If there’s a way-down-the-depth-chart player whose name might be good to get to know, it’s running back Aaron Shampklin. The Harvard grad is on his fourth NFL team in three seasons, and has yet to play in a regular-season game, but with Najee Harris absent on Tuesday, and vet Cordarrelle Patterson still getting into the swing of things after a late report to OTAs, there have been plenty of reps to go around for the team’s younger running backs.

Shampklin has taken advantage of his opportunities, showing off a well-round skillset, and standing out in a crowd that includes players with more NFL experience like Jonathan Ward and La’Mical Perine.

NEW GUY AT STEELERS MINICAMP

Defensive tackle Jayden Peevy is at Steelers minicamp on a tryout after two seasons with the Tennessee Titans. It’s not uncommon this time of year to see a new jersey number in practice that you don’t recognize, but Peevy’s No. 72 came with a well-above-average skillset for a typical early summer addition.

He didn’t just catch my eye.

“He looked pretty good out there,” another Steelers defensive lineman observed in the locker room.

If you’re a tryout — who just left home in Nashville a few hours before practice — that’s probably a good start.