The Pittsburgh Steelers struggled during the 2019 NFL regular season after losing starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to injury. Now, with no 2020 offseason due to COVID-19, there are a few players who suffered the most from the lack of workouts and practice.
In 2019, the Steelers had to turn to Mason Rudolph after Roethlisberger suffered a season-ending elbow injury. The 6-foot-5 quarterback was drafted out of Oklahoma State in 2018.
Things started out relatively well for Rudolph in his NFL debut last season. He threw for two touchdowns against the Seattle Seahawks, but the Steelers ended up losing the game.
Rudolph started in a few more games before getting a concussion in a game against the Baltimore Ravens. He was then replaced by Devlin Hodges, who also started out well. Things took a turn for the worst, though, and Hodges began to look uncomfortable and nervous in the pocket.
Despite Rudolph’s struggles in 2019, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has already named him the second-string quarterback for 2020.
Rudolph definitely needed some extra practice over the summer to ensure that he would be prepared to be a possible successor to Roethlisberger. However, due to coronavirus concerns, Rudolph could be in trouble if he has to play this season.
He appears to be starting out well at training camp, though.
— Steel City Underground (@steelcityundrgr) July 27, 2019
Highsmith is an edge rusher out of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
The Steelers’ rookie was already going to have a pretty tough transition from college football to the NFL because of UNC Charlotte’s lack of competition as members of Conference USA.
In the NFL, Highsmith will be matched up against offensive players who are stronger, faster and bigger than those he faced in college. Coming from a non-Power 5 school could prove difficult for the linebacker, despite his impressive track record.
Each year Claypool was at Notre Dame, he kept getting better. However, now he will have some extra competition within his own team at the wide receiver position.
Several Steelers wide receivers struggled along with the rest of the offense the last couple of years. Now, though, there is suddenly a lot of depth at the position.
The addition of tight end Eric Ebron could also prohibit Claypool from seeing much playing time. Although, this doesn’t seem to be stopping Claypool from working hard to get on the field this year.
'You can make an impression in more than just the practices. It's how you carry yourself. You find ways to maximize how you make an impression, it's in the weight room, knowing what to do, spending extra time. That is my mindset.' – @ChaseClaypool
— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) July 30, 2020
In 2018, the Steelers took Samuels with the 165th pick in the draft. During the 2018 season, the running back played in 14 games and ran for 256 yards.
Samuels had a rough year in 2019. He struggled to run the ball effectively and suffered a knee injury. Running back Benny Snell also injured his knee, but came back stronger than Samuels did.
This offseason would have been critical for Samuels to continue working with the rest of the Steelers’ offense.
Featured Image Courtesy of Behind the Steel Curtain
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