I don’t want to rely too much on the phrase It’s early For much longer, it’s been more than a week at camp, but there are long ways to go. The Pittsburgh Steelers have yet to play their first preseason game and the final roster spots have not been determined. But in the middle of that longer camp, six straight drills ending today, I wanted to step back and talk about my two favorite players — camp dears. The guys at the bottom of the list are hardworking and turning heads. Here are three guys who don’t get much fuss but are healthy at the start of summer.
WR Tyler Phones – It’s a deep reception room with a focus on draft picks, George Pickens and Calvin Austin III, along with news of Deontay Johnson’s new contract. Truth be told, Foggins is fighting for a practice squad spot, not 53. But for the not-so-well-experienced guy out of USC, he’s 4.69 40 (in his pro day, no less), 31.5 inches vertical, and 7.15 three-cone, he’s a streamlined road runner With short range speed impressed WRs coach Frisman Jackson. During the four padded drills, Vaughn has five receptions for 55 yards in team practice. Receptions have been tied for third over that period while his yards are ranked second among all the Steelers, after Calvin Austin III.
He tracks the ball well in the air and shows extra control with his body to a high point and takes the ball away from his body. He got the size and worked mostly abroad with little re-value, including landing a penalty kick in college. Even with one or two injuries, Vaughns’ path to number 53 is narrow, but he is setting himself up to stay on the team’s coaching staff as long as he can withstand what he’s doing now through the rest of the summer.
OLB Delonta Scott – There is still an intense battle for spare pass dash points behind TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith. Genard Avery, Derrek Tuszka served as the best backup as Tuzar Skipper tries to restore the magic he had his first time with the team. Scott has accomplished the most forgotten part of camp – a good pile of days. Anyone can be good for a day. Sustainability is what gets you on the list. Scott has been excellent since pads appeared as a passing and ran defensive tackle, worked on blocks, played on or behind the scrimmage line, taught Zach Gentry in his backs on backers, and hit the ball on his way to QB. I’m still not sure if he’ll make it to 53, it’s still a competitive battle and the group has been strong, including UDFA TD Moultry, but Scott has always been strong this week. Having a full vacation instead of taking the moving train, which was signed last September, certainly helped.
ILP Mark Robinson – Thanks to his seventh-round pick, Robinson is a bigger name than the other two on this list. But he was still looking at him from the outside heading into the summer. He’s still in the bubble thanks to the highly competitive in-house quarterback, but Robinson has been on the scene since day one. He seemed more comfortable moving backwards in coverage and showed he could play on the ball, considering a tight end or running backwards on the running tracks over the middle. He has the ability to quickly change in direction that good runners should have and can sink and drive his hips to break the ball effectively.
He filled his gap well in the running and play sessions with energy and intensity but without being overly aggressive and reckless. The ILB fight will be one of the fiercest and probably won’t be decided until the last hour, although Marcus Allen is probably hoping this hamstring injury will heal soon. Unfortunately, he may still have at least a week left to return and he may not play in his first pre-season game.