The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing to enter their final week of training camp, and the evaluations are becoming pretty clear. While there was plenty of hype around a lot of players coming into Saint Vincent College, leaving is a bit different.
The excitement has dimmed around these four players, leaving questions to how well they’ll contribute in 2022, and if they’ll make the roster at all.
Mataeo Durant, RB
Coming into training camp, the hype around the undrafted running backs was directed at Durant. The Duke product seemed like the more natural runner between he and Jaylen Warren, and if either was going to spark a fire at camp, it would’ve been Durant.
Well, it wasn’t Warren has caught everyone’s attention, while Durant is slowly drifting away. His inability to pass-block is concerning, and despite having great vision, Warren is the back who’s running downhill more often.
Buddy Johnson, LB
There was hope Buddy Johnson entered the season as a major contributor to the defense. The second-year inside linebacker bulked up over the offseason, and should still have all the athleticism coaches bragged about as a rookie.
But right now, it’s Myles Jack, Devin Bush and Robert Spillane manning the first-team reps and Johnson manning the second-team. Until his injury, Johnson was working with Marcus Allen.
Once the season starts, he could have a role on defense, but it seems like the only inside linebackers seeing much playing time will be Spillane, Bush and Jack.
Chuks Okorafor, OT
Going up against TJ Watt everyday isn’t going to work in your favor as an offensive lineman. Chuks Okorafor isn’t impressing, but we’re all trying to keep the understanding that he’s across from the Defensive Player of the Year.
Still, the jump Dan Moore Jr. appears to have made is a big one, which is exciting for the Steelers. But if Okorafor isn’t worth his contract, it’s a wasted year at right tackle. So far, he hasn’t shown much to say be thrilled about his return.
Gunner Olszewski, WR
Coming out of mini camp, Olszewski was the wide receiver to watch. He was always open. ALWAYS. But things change once the pads come on and players are no longer in shorts and helmets.
Olszewski is still primed to make this roster, but it would’ve been nice to say the Steelers stole a flashy wide receiver from New England. Now, we’re just thinking maybe the Patriots had a reason to use him only on special teams.
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Olszewski is catching footballs and still contributing with the first-team. He’s just not as flashy as he was in the South Side.
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