The Pittsburgh Steelers completed their rookie minicamp on Sunday, with no big surprises. This is a great touch of news, as the team could not afford a season ending injury of any type at this stage of the preseason.
One part of the roster that will definitely look different is the defensive line. With Ziggy Hood, Al Woods, and Brett Keisel all gone, that leaves at least three roster spots open. Veteran free agent signee Cam Thomas and second round pick Stephon Tuitt will fill two of those spots, with the last one being won in a interesting camp battle. 2013 seventh round pick Nick Williams, 2013 UDFA Brian Arnfelt will be the front-runner’s, but they are inexperienced and will have to win the position with their play.
Those two will likely do battle with the three undrafted rookie free agents brought into camp. Of those three, there are some intriguing prospects, with Wisconsin defensive end Ethan Hemer being one that could surprise. At 6-5, 297-pounds, Hemer has the size to anchor on the outside and has a solid combination of power and quickness to play end in the Steelers 3-4 schemes.
He is also experienced in three-man fronts, something that should allow him to be comfortable early on in the preseason. A non-combine invite, Hemer had a mixed pro day, recording 32 reps at 225, but was slow in the 40-yard dash (5.50 second).
With the Steelers having an opening along the defensive line, any player in the competition has a punchers chance at landing the roster spot. This will definitely be a battle to watch throughout camp.
Stanford cornerback / safety Devon Carrington (Profile 5/15)
Youngstown State offensive guard Chris Elkins (Profile 5/16)
Stanford defensive end Josh Mauro
Louisville defensive end Roy Philon
Shepherd outside linebacker Howard Jones
Missouri tight end Eric Waters
Cincinnati quarterback Brendon Kay