By: Zach Metkler, GZ Sports Report Writer
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The Steelers got back to work on Wednesday for Day 2 of OTAs. With Day 2 now in the books, the team is moving right along with their practices. Many of the headlines remained the same but new storylines continue to develop that will be worth keeping track of. What did we learn on Day 2? Continue reading to find out.
Senquez Golson Might be the Cornerback to Watch
After missing the last two seasons due to injury, Senquez Golson is looking to get his first true season under his belt, stating that he considers this to be his third first year, per Ed Bouchette. Golson will get his chance this summer, as the injuries appear to finally be behind him. During interviews, Golson said that he had 2 screws placed in his foot last fall that negatively impacted his mobility but they have since been taken out and he is at 100% and is ready to go, per the Trib’s Chris Adamski. In addition to this, he also reportedly added 12 pounds of muscle to his frame, which could work to his benefit as he will likely get his shot in the slot. Through the first two days of OTAs, Golson has seen time with the 2nd-team defense as the slot corner behind veteran William Gay, a position where the Steelers originally expected him to flourish when they selected him in the 2nd-round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He will have stiff competition from rookie Cameron Sutton and free agent signing Coty Sensabaugh, but if Golson proves that he can hold his own in the slot, Sutton has the versatility to play at multiple positions in the secondary, giving the Steelers options. Golson’s progression this summer will be one to pay close attention to as he attempts to make his comeback onto the field.
Mike Mitchell Got Some Help This Offseason From James Harrison
Many Steelers spent time this offseason adding good muscle weight to their frames through intensive workouts. One of those players took a different route, working with workout monster James Harrison. That player was Mike Mitchell, who says that he added 10 lbs. of upper body strength during this offseason. Mitchell, who is widely known for his hard-hitting playing style, might become even more ferocious of a hitter by adding this additional strength. Offenses beware.
Stephon Tuitt Will Not Participate in OTAs
Earlier today, it was reported by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that defensive end Stephon Tuitt will not participate in any OTA practices this year after undergoing surgery on his hand earlier this offseason. While this is disappointing news, Tuitt is still expected to be ready by the season. Tuitt is entering the final year of his rookie contract after being selected in the 2nd-round of the 2014 NFL Draft and is expected to receive a solid payday as one of the Steelers rising stars.
James Conner Will Miss Some Time From an Injury Suffered at Rookie Minicamp
During the first day of rookie minicamp, James Conner suffered a minor hamstring injury that has sidelined him since, according to Mark Kaboly of DKPittsburghSports. The expectation is that Conner will be able to return to action soon and begin training with the rest of the team. While Conner won’t be pushed into action right away as a rookie, the Steelers expect him to perform on special teams and off the bench in relief of Le’Veon Bell. After being one of the Steelers two 3rd-round selections in this year’s draft, Conner instantly became a fan favorite and will leave Steelers faithful in great anticipation to see him get his first action.
Alejandro Villanueva Reportedly Wants a Bigger Deal
Over the past two seasons, Alejandro Villanueva has quietly been one of the Steelers most improved players and is beginning to hear his name discussed as a top 15 left tackle in the league. He is far from the Joe Thomas’s and Tyson Smith’s of the NFL, but there is no doubt that he gives the Steelers security at left tackle and will likely continue to improve this season as well. Heading into OTAs, Villanueva has yet to sign the one-year exclusive rights tender that the Steelers gave him ahead of the start of the 2017 league year. While he will be present and fully participate in the practices, rumors have began circulating that Villanueva wants a new contract extension. With players like Le’Veon Bell, Ryan Shazier, and Stephon Tuitt all expected to have big paydays in the coming year or less, it will be interesting to see where Villanueva fits into all of this. After losing Kelvin Beachum last offseason, the Steelers can’t afford to restart their search for another player at the most important position along the offensive line.
Joshua Dobbs Proving to be a Student of the Game
This should come as no surprise: Joshua Dobbs is an extremely intelligent man. When talking to PennLive’s Jacob Klinger, Dobbs said that he was surprised by the amount of pro concepts that he was already familiar with and already knew. While Dobbs still has plenty to learn with the Steelers playbook, having familiarity with some concepts will allow him to focus on other aspects of his game. Selected in the 4th-round of this year’s draft, Dobbs will compete with Landry Jones as the Steelers’ #2 quarterback behind Ben Roethlisberger. He still has a long way to go, as he has been widely criticized for inconsistent accuracy and decision making. But as a highly coachable player with elite intelligence, the Steelers appear confident that Dobbs can improve his technique as a quarterback. Becoming comfortable with the playbook will only accelerate that process.
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