The Pittsburgh Steelers will definitely have a different roster in 2013 as compared to the one that opened the 2012 season. This offseason, no positions are safe, not even with the specialists, where the team could have two new starters moving forward.Shaun Suisham had another solid season. In all, the 31-year old kicker was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week twice in 2012 and converted 28-of-31 field goal attempts for the season, including three game winners against the Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens.
The first change could come at the punter position. Last season undrafted rookie free agent Drew Butler won the position out of camp and had an up-and-down season. In all, he punted 77 times with a 43.8 average (37.8 net) with 26 punts downed inside the 20-yard line. While the 24-year old punter flashed potential, the Steelers decided to bring in a veteran for competition in unrestricted free agent punter Brian Moorman.
The 37-year-old punter has been solid throughout his career and should provide steep competition for Butler during training camp. The Steelers will be Moorman’s third team in the past two seasons. In 2012, he opened the season with the Buffalo Bills, was released and eventually finished the season with the Dallas Cowboys. By the end of the season, the two-time Pro Bowl selection had a 38.9-yard net average.
The next battle could come at the long snapper position. The Steelers do have a steady snapper in Greg Warren, but he is only under contract through the 2013 season. In all, the former undrafted rookie free agent from North Carolina (2005) has played 117 regular season and 9 post-season games.
Warren will face competition from another undrafted rookie free agent, Hawaii long snapper Luke Ingram, in what could be one of the toughest competitions in camp. An experienced snapper (52 games), Ingram was the top rated long snapper available in this draft class and appears to have a skill set to be successful.
The 6'5", 254-pound special team ace even earned a trip to the Senior Bowl after being named the Hawaii’s Special Team MVP for a second time in 2012. He has good size for the position and put on a solid show at his Pro Day recording a 5.05 40-yard dash and 24 reps at 225.
Over the next few weeks, Steelers101 will break down every position, highlight training camp battles and eventually have the complete 53-man roster as we see it today.
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