3 Players to Watch at Steelers Rookie Minicamp

Who are some players that could stand out for the Pittsburgh Steelers at their rookie minicamp this coming weekend?

Pittsburgh Steelers select Ryan Watts in sixth round of 2024 NFL Draft - On3

The Pittsburgh Steelers will host their rookie minicamp for the next three days. While it is mostly about getting to know the team’s rookies, there are a few players to watch right out of the gate, as some players will be trying to earn contracts. Who are three players to watch on Pittsburgh’s rookie minicamp roster that we know of so far?

Ryan Watts

The one and only drafted player I will have on this list is simply because Watts is such an ambiguous player coming out of Texas. He’s naturally a guy who could slot in at cornerback, but in reality, Watts has some hip tightness issues, and his long speed is average, not exceptional. That will make him a wild card for where he will play. Although he talked about his versatility in his press conference with the Pittsburgh media after being selected, Watts will only cover tight ends at the next level, or he will have to improve his technique significantly on the outside.

So, I want to see what group the Steelers throw him in with first. Or do they start rotating him all around the football field so he can play really wherever across the defensive backfield? It’s a question that needs to be answered because Watts’ plan on the defensive side of the ball does factor into the conversations about the slot cornerback position and more than just that, it factors into how Pittsburgh will deploy its subpackage defenders throughout training camp. So, Watts is an intriguing name to keep an eye on.

Beanie Bishop

Bishop is the most hyped-up undrafted free agent of this process for the Steelers, and it’s not hard to see why. He can come in on day one and compete for that job. Bishop is known as someone who can bring the heat off the edge and play with a chip on their shoulder. You don’t have to ask anyone else, ask Bishop.

Bishop instantly displayed a high level of confidence, but his spirit only increased after proving his true potential as a Mountaineer. He’s then put that on display at the East-West Shrine Bowl, as his focus is on impressing NFL scouts enough to be drafted. Bishop was one of the standouts at the Big 12’s Pro Day.

He ran a 4.39 forty and a 4.15 20-yard shuttle, which would have been among the best times at the NFL Combine. Given his projection in the slot, the Steelers had to note Bishop’s testing level. But it was more than that. Bishop’s ball-hawking skills stood out on tape, too, and he earned an All-American selection as a result. So, I’m interested to see how that fire manifests itself in a practice setting with an NFL team. It should set the tone for the rest of his offseason.

Rayjuon Pringle

How about just an invite to round things out? I’m interested in Pringle for one reason, and it’s a gaudy stat — 24.6 yards per catch. He is a big-time playmaker in that regard. Pringle, a 5-foot-8, 182-pound receiver, ran a 4.57 40-yard dash at his pro day while pairing that with a 30.5-inch vertical. He went undrafted, mainly due to his size and average athleticism on the testing sheet.

But he was an All-CAA First-Team Selection in 2023, catching 40 passes for 984 yards and eight touchdowns—career bests. Over his career, Pringle amassed 97 receptions for 1834 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. As part of the 2019 class, Pringle was a graduate student and will come out as a 24-year-old rookie.

One boon for Pringle over some others is that he is versatile in special teams. He worked on coverage units and has punt and kick return units. Any way those guys can try to crack the lineup is important, and Pringle has the versatility to push for a roster spot due to those skills. This is not a team with a ton of youth at wide receiver, so Pringle is a fascinating name to watch based on his big-time stats alone.

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