I'm stuck in the Rocky Mountains, so I don't have any information other than the preseason games and what I've read in articles, blogs, and camp reports. But that won't stop me from analyzing each rookie and their shot of making the squad.
Smith said Hood has done so well through the first half of training camp that he expects the former Missouri star to make an impact this season even though the Steelers are deep at defensive end. He's going to be a really good player for a really long time," Smith said. "He gets it. He's a smart kid and works hard."
"Hood, the Steelers' top draft pick, has the look of a future star - or at least as much of a star as defensive linemen can be in this defense." - Jim Wexell
Likelihood of making team: 100%
"Ramon Foster is a better player than Kraig urbik. Urbik, frankly, is too soft. And I'm stunned" - Jim Wexell
"The second practice — when we started doing one-on-ones — that was a huge, rude awakening," said Urbik, one of three third-round picks the Steelers made in the NFL draft at the end of April. "You have to have perfect technique every time. I did bad on it, so it's really an eye-opener that you really have to hone your technique."
The only critique on Wallace is his tendency to drop a pass every now and then - a trait shared by many Steeler wide receivers. Wallace had a nice first preseason game with 2 catches for 35 yards and a 35 yard return. He also got open deep, but Dennis Dixon underthrew him. He was also solid against Washington.
"He's one of fastest I've ever run against," said cornerback Ike Taylor, generally acknowledged by his teammates as the fastest Steelers player. "Nobody's really running like him right now."
"He's one of those guys who will go in what I call the combat zone -- inside those numbers, between the hashes," said offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. "He's not afraid to go in the combat zone. It takes special cats to go in there. A lot of guys like to play out there by those numbers, especially those fast guys, and he hasn't shied away at all."
Rookie Mike Wallace continues to impress at training camp, showing off great hands in addition to great speed. - Jim Wexell
"Wallace just ran a reverse and all I can say is I cant wait till the season. O, and there's a screen to him. Wow" - Jim Wexell
"Four things stood out about rookie receiver Mike Wallace in the early days of training camp: He has a Mohawk haircut, he has speed, he has a tattoo of the New Orleans Saints on his neck, and he dropped his share of passes."
Likelihood of making team: 100%
Keenan Lewis & Joe Burnett
It's rare to read about one without reading about the other so I'll lump these two cornerbacks together.
"You would probably compare [Lewis] to Ike," DB coach Ray Horton told reporters. "He's 6-foot, 200 pounds and runs a 4.55 (40-yard dash). He'll be able to run up the field with men just like Ike. You have to stop the run and make (teams) throw the ball and he is a big, physical corner, a la Ike."
"I'm going to the Super Bowl," said Lewis, a cornerback from Oregon State who was drafted in the third round. "I'll find anyway I can, even if it's on special teams. That's my goal -- to help this team get back to the Super Bowl. Whatever I can do to enhance the situation, I'm going to do."
Q:Do you think Keenan Lewis makes the team??
Ed Bouchette: Yes, he's looked very good in training camp. I don't see how he doesn't make it.
Rookie cornerback Keenan Lewis is setting his goals high. “Definitely (NFL Defensive) Rookie of the Year and I want to go to the Pro Bowl,” he said. “If I can’t do that, I fail.” Strong words for a third-round draft pick who isn’t even a starter. So why would he put his goals so high? “I feel I’m ready,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll have the opportunity to start (this year), but I feel I will have the opportunity to play. Special teams, anything. Hopefully, I’ll get in on defense.”
Gene Collier: They don't like to cut draft picks, but Frank would be a longshot at this point. He hasn't wowed anybody.
Likelihood of making team: 35%
“He gives us that big guy in there who can move a bit,” said line coach Larry Zierlein, who knew coming into camp that Foster would challenge for a roster spot. Yeah, there were some expectations for him, but he’s given us a tad more than what I thought he might. It’s early. It remains to be seen whether he can be consistent, but I think he’s got a future.”
"Chris Kemoeatu out. Hope that means Ramon Foster starts. May be best run blocker on team." - Jim Wexell
The Steelers have a new folk hero on their hands, an undrafted, mostly unwanted rookie who has become one of the remarkable stories of this training camp." - Ed Bouchette