With the Pittsburgh Steelers nearing the end of their voluntary OTAs, it has come time to start breaking down the potential 2014 roster and predict some of the better training camp battles. While some positions may be close to solidified, there will definitely be major changes from the group that opened 2013 season.Ben Roethlisberger is healthy and will return to lead an offense that continued to improve through the 2013 campaign. Armed with a new-look no-huddle attack, Roethlisberger is a leader and a warrior, and the perfect quarterback to lead the Steelers back to the playoffs after back-to-back 8-8 seasons.
Veteran back-up quarterback Bruce Gradkowski will return to the fold and be the number two. Gradkowski, originally a 2006 sixth round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he will be returning home on a three-year contract. Born and raised in the city, he was a standout quarterback at Seton-La Salle Catholic High School prior to heading to Toledo to continue his football career.
Behind Roethlisberger and Gradkowski, the Steelers surprisingly spent a fourth round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft on Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones. The record setting Jones was once considered a first round prospect and fell in the draft due to struggles during his senior season. Blessed with prototypical size and tremendous arm-strength, Jones struggled in his first season with the Steelers and must show more this offseason to ensure his roster spot.
The Steelers also brought in undrafted rookie free agent quarterback Brendon Kay from the University of Cincinnati. An erratic passer, he does have some intriguing attributes including a 4.63 40-yard dash, and a 34 inch vertical. At 6-3, 226-pounds, Kay may have the athleticism to transition from quarterback to tight end or fullback. In fact, that type of transition may be his only chance to stick. Of course, he could also open up some eyes during his time as an extra training camp arm and earn a spot on the practice squad.
In the end, the Steelers should keep three quarterbacks in 2014.
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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