Steelers daily training camp primer: Inside linebackers take spotlight
Each day of Steelers training camp the Trib rounds up some things to watch for at Saint Vincent.
What to watch
1. Inside linebacker repetitions: The first practice, albeit not in pads, will be the chance to see whether Tyler Matakevich or Jon Bostic works with the first-team defense as the Steelers prepare for life without Ryan Shazier for the 2018 season. Matakevich, who has never started an NFL game on defense, took the first-team reps in voluntary spring practices. Bostic, though, received a two-year contract in free agency and started last season for the Indianapolis Colts.
2. Free safety competition: Mike Mitchell’s replacement will be either Sean Davis or newcomer Morgan Burnett. Davis spent his first two seasons with the Steelers at strong safety. Burnett, entering his ninth season, has experience at both spots. Nothing was defined in organized team activities.
3. Who gets the touches?: With Le’Veon Bell absent from camp -- again -- the leading candidate to work with the first-team offense is second-year running back James Conner. Veteran Stevan Ridley is in his first camp with the Steelers. Another running back to watch is fifth-round draft pick Jaylen Samuels, a converted tight end.
4. First-time veterans at Saint Vincent: Fans will get their first look at Bostic, Burnett and free-agent special-teamer Nat Berhe in black-and-gold colors, and they also will get to see tight end Vance McDonald and cornerback Joe Haden for the first time in this setting. McDonald and Haden were acquired last summer after camp broke.
5. The rookies: From first-rounder Terrell Edmunds to seventh-rounder Josh Frazier, the rookie draft class will be on display. It will be the first chance for fans to see Mason Rudolph throw passes and James Washington catch them. It’s also the first day for Chuks Okorafor, Samuels and Marcus Allen, not to mention about a dozen undrafted free agents.
Practice time: 2:55 p.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Chuck Noll Field, Saint Vincent