Connect with us

Steelers Analysis

Steelers Rookie Camp Takeaways: Positions Revealed, Leaders Emerge

Pittsburgh Steelers rookie minicamp takeaways: Troy Fautanu at RT, Payton Wilson calling defense, Beanie Bishop finds a home in the slot.



Pittsburgh Steelers OL Zach Frazier Troy Fautanu
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive linemen Zach Frazier and Troy Fautanu during rookie minicamp at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on May 10, 2024. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — Football is back! Well, it is sort of back in Pittsburgh. The Steelers rookie camp kicked off on Friday, the first step in true teambuilding activities. Soon enough, OTAs and mandatory minicamp will come shortly after that, too. Even in shorts, what could be learned about Pittsburgh’s team from the first day of rookie minicamp?

Pittsburgh Steelesr Troy Fautanu

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Troy Fatuanu at rookie minicamp, Friday, May 10, 2024 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Fautanu to Right Tackle

Steelers rookie tackle Troy Fautanu is playing right tackle to start his rookie minicamp. That does not mean the team will keep him there, in fact, Fautanu is not sure if that is the long-term plan. But for now, the team is planning to throw Fautanu in that spot. It could signal a move for Broderick Jones, who told Steelers Now following the season that he was more comfortable on the left side.

“I would say I’m more comfortable on the left just because I’ve been playing it for so long. I don’t have as many repetitions on the right side, right now,” Jones said.

Fautanu said that he cross-trained at both spots while at Washington but does not have in-game experience on the right side. For now, the biggest area of growth will be getting more comfortable with the footwork and stances, but he did that in individual drills while at Washington.

“The biggest challenge is flipping the footwork,” Fautanu said. “You’ve just been playing left for so long, so shout out to my coach back in college, who is making sure that we are comfortable playing both sides, so I’m ready to work and learn there. Whenever we did individual drills every day, we did right hand stances and left hand stances.”

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Roman Wilson

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Roman Wilson at rookie minicamp, May 10, 2024 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Speedy Dot Roman Wilson

Roman Wilson was one of the few drafted players who did not talk on Friday, but I just noticed how quickly he eats up ground in short areas. The explosiveness he has off the line of scrimmage is incredible. There were veterans in the Steelers rookie camp that did not have the same level of burst that he does. The 4.39 speed is impressive at the NFL Combine, but the instant acceleration is more impressive.

That’s probably why he has won so much on crossers and over routes. Wilson is a speedy dot flying across the field in shorts and on tape. It doesn’t guarantee he will be good, obviously, but that trait certainly sticks out in a positive manner relative to the rest of the field.
Pittsburgh Steelers OG Mason McCormick

Pittsburgh Steelers guard Mason McCormick at rookie minicamp, May 10, 2024 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

McCormick’s Versatility

Mason McCormick is joining Fautanu on the right side, too. He was working at right guard rather than his natural left guard, where he made every single start of his collegiate career. That’s natural for what Pittsburgh wants, as they want everyone to be versatile. But it’s not new for McCormick.

“I’ve trained across the offensive line,” McCormick said. “You know, left, right, center. I feel comfortable doing all of that. Wherever they want to put me first, that’s fine.”

McCormick and Fautanu rode with center Zach Frazier in his truck. Currently, the three do not have places in Pittsburgh and are spending as much time together. Offensive coordinator Arthur Smith quipped at them, saying that they were already inseparable, according to McCormick. So, while they are learning new spots, the camaraderie is growing among the group, too.

Pittsburgh Steelers CB Marquis Williams

Steelers tryout cornerback Marquis Williams rookie minicamp, May 10, 2024 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Make Yourself Known, Quis

Pitt is right across the building for the Steelers, but no one wants to be known more than Marquis Williams. So, what did he do? Williams was the first in the Steelers building on Friday, beating even special teams coach Danny Smith to his office. He took a sticky note and let Smith know he was there before him. Before leaving his office, Williams studied the special teams playbook to learn anything he could. Well, that’s one way to make an impression. Williams wanted Mike Tomlin to know who he was while at Pitt, too.

“I always knew Coach Mike T since my uncle had been playing here,” Williams said. “I’ve been around always with Mike T. It’s been a great friendship. I call him uncle. So it’s definitely great that he knows me, a lot of the staff know me as well. They all got experiences of coaching with Mike T and it’s all family oriented so I definitely adapted very quickly.”

It doesn’t guarantee him a spot on the roster if he can not show out during the rookie minicamp, but it certainly will not hurt his chances of making his name known, and that is one way for him to stand out from the rest of the pack at Steelers rookie camp.

Pittsburgh Steelers CB Beanie Bishop

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Beanie Bishop during rookie minicamp at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Friday, May 10, 2024. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now


In his time at three stops in college football (Western Kentucky, Minnesota, West Virginia), Beanie Bishop played a little bit of everywhere in the defensive secondary, with career snaps at outside cornerback (1,360), slot cornerback (250) and safety (215) per Pro Football Focus.

With the Steelers in their base defense at rookie camp, Bishop was gathered with the safeties, but where he expects to make an impact is as a slot cornerback in the Nickel and Dime sub packages.

“I feel that’s a spot that I can play in and that’s a need for the team,” Bishop said, something that he and the Steelers discussed even before the signed in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers’ depth chart at slot cornerback is fairly thin, with Josiah Scott from last year’s practice squad and Bishop seeming right now to be the most likely options on the roster. That’s not a problem for Bishop, despite his status as an undrafted free agent, and he said he’s used to surprising people who have overlooked him.

“Coming out of high school, I wasn’t a highly recruited guy,” Bishop said. “I only had one FBS offers. I kind of took the same approach of being a smaller guy and a guy that was kind of overlooked and have always played with a chip on my shoulder.”

Pittsburgh Steelers LB Payton Wilson

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Payton Wilson during rookie minicamp at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on May 10, 2024. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now


When the Steelers lined up on defense at rookie camp, it was third-round rookie Payton Wilson that was calling the plays in the huddle to get the rest of the squad together.

The Steelers do have one experienced linebacker in camp, in Tyler Murray, who spent time with the team last season, but they trusted the youngster to have a solid grip on the playbook on his first day.

“It’s been super cool,” Wilson said. “It’s a lot different than what we did in college. It’s kind of awesome to have been learning on the fly. Coach [Aaron] Curry is one of the best coaches I’ve ever been around. They way he simplifies and explains it, having played it before, it’s just special. He really simplifies it for me to really be able to play fast.”

Pittsburgh Steelers C Zach Frazier

Pittsburgh Steelers center Zach Frazier at rookie minicamp at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Friday, May 10, 2024. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now


Center Zach Frazier has an advantage over most of the rookies, who traveled to Pittsburgh from all over the country for the three-day camp. His home is just 90 miles or so down Interstate 79 in Fairmont, West Virginia.So when he drove in, he gave fellow offensive line rookies Troy Fautanu and Mason McCormick a ride to work.

Center is naturally a leadership position along the offensive line, but for now, Frazier will likely keep it to small gestures like a ride before he tries on a full leadership role.

“I think it’s my job to take care of myself first and make sure all my ducks are in a row before I try to start leading others,” Frazier said.

Texas CB Ryan Watts

Ryan Watts, Texas Athletics


Sixth-round pick Ryan Watts was not in attendance for the workout on Friday, as he was in Austin for his graduation ceremony at the University of Texas.

Watts is one of the rookies with some positional flexibility, having playing mostly outside cornerback at Texas, but with some in the pre-draft process considering him a safety. He is expected to be in attendance for the second practice session on Saturday, so we’ll get a first look at where he lines up then.


Former Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier was in attendance on Friday, and helped running backs coach Eddie Faulkner take his young backs through their drills.

1 Comment
Notify of

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Edward Carmichael
Edward Carmichael
May 11, 2024 8:19 pm

as a true Steelers fan, the starting ILB’s on the 2024 Steelers defense shuold be ILB Payton Wilson and Patrick Queen and ILB Mark Robinson back/ rotate