2014 Depth Chart: Pittsburgh Steelers
[Chart last updated 7/2/14… see update notes from 7/2/14]
• How much longer Ben Roethlisberger will be a high quality starter is up for debate, but when he plays the way he did last year, the Steelers will always contend for a playoff spot. Able to keep plays alive when it looks like there is only a negative play to be had, he’s still a very good quarterback at this stage.
• Heath Miller will be 32 during the 2014 season and is coming off his worst season since we began grading. He was coming back from an injury, but his play deteriorated as the year went on, so it’s fair to question if he can get back to his best.
• It’s tough to get a good read on outside linebacker Jason Worilds after four years in the league. The player we saw from Week 11 onward last year was definitely a high quality starter, but can he reproduce that form over a full season? Until he does, I think having him highlighted in light green is a fair compromise.
• Ike Taylor a below average starter? Well, yes. He allowed 71 catches for 1,043 yards and six touchdowns. That included a torrid two weeks against the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions where he allowed 14 catches for 328 yards.
1. Wide Receiver
Antonio Brown returns as the Steelers’ top offensive weapon, and new signing Lance Moore figures to be a top target from the slot, but how about beyond that? We haven’t seen enough of Markus Wheaton yet to tell if he can be the answer, though the speedster did drop two of the eight catchable passes thrown his way in 2013. Speaking of drops, they added former Oakland Raiders and Indianapolis Colts pass-catcher Darrius Heyward-Bey and, while he has plenty of speed to beat defensive downfield, he too has struggled to be consistent at bringing the ball in.
2. Defensive End
It’s expected that the recently signed Cam Thomas will open the year as the Steelers’ starting left end, but could second-round draft pick Stephon Tuitt push him for playing time? Thomas has impressed in flashes over the past two seasons, but his best work has come at nose tackle. Obviously we haven’t seen any of Tuitt yet, and the Steelers have been cautious to work rookies onto the field, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.
It might not be an exciting battle, but Brad Wing and Adam Podlesh will fight it out to be the Steelers’ punter in 2014. We haven’t seen Wing yet, but based on Podlesh’s body of work it would be surprising if Wing didn’t win the job.
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