Today was a rare day in Latrobe, as Pittsburgh Steelers players got to enjoy the CBA mandated off-day early in training camp. For some, this provided a chance to recover from the bumps and bruises that come from the cracking of pads for the first time. This is especially true on the offensive side of the ball, where Todd Haley’s new scheme looks extremely run heavy early in camp.fullback position in the offense. That is right, much to Steelers fans delight, Haley is bringing back the fullback position.
Early in camp, incumbent fullback (former tight end) David Johnson may have a leg up on the competition, after splitting time as a pseudo fullback / H-back in previous schemes. However, the 2012 restricted free agent and former seventh round selection is far from a sure bet to make the opening day roster. Yes, he has experience and enters camp some 20-pounds lighter, but the 6-2, 250-pounder has been rather quiet throughout his career, recording only 18 career receptions for 146 yards and 1 touchdown.
During camp, he should face the biggest challenge from another Johnson, free agent prospect Will Johnson from West Virginia University. A former college wide receiver, the 6-2, 240-pound fullback is a skilled route runner with solid hands, who did gain experience as a tradition fullback late in his career with the Mountaineers. If he takes to the battering ram mentality needed at the position, he could seize the opportunity.
Over the first few days of camp, both players have had their share of moments and the competition appears to be neck-and-neck. Sure, it could stay that way until the end of camp, but most likely something will change once preseason games begin and special teams roles begin to be defined. Until that point, this is definitely a camp battle to watch.
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