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Five Players to Watch at Steelers OTAs

Heading to camp, these are the Pittsburgh Steelers to watch.

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in action as they prepare for the 2022 season. Organized Team Activities brings the first look at which under-the-radar players could be the diamond in the rough this season, which brings plenty of excitement - because football is back. 

The Steelers have 90 players set to compete for 53 roster spots this summer, and like every season, there's going to be surprises. 

As we prepare for OTAs and minicamp, these five players are who to watch. 

Tyree Johnson

The Steelers have a trend of finding undrafted rookies who find themselves in positions to play on defense. This year, that diamond in the rough appears to be Tyree Johnson out of Texas A&M.

The outside linebacker was passed up by 32 teams through seven rounds before the Steelers added him to their roster. And during Rookie Minicamp, head coach Mike Tomlin had his eyes all over him. 

So, why is Johnson intriguing? Well, it wasn't his 18 sacks or 23.5 tackles for loss that kept teams from drafting him - it was injuries. 

Johnson suffered a calf injury during the season that he dealt with while playing. Then, during his workouts at the East-West Shrine Bowl, he ended up with a quad injury. 

"Life doesn’t always go as you expect when you get older,” Johnson told The Athletic's Mark Kaboly. "It is just about taking every opportunity that you get. I was very disappointed that I didn’t get drafted, but I am coming here and going to show them what we got. I was kind of willing to accept anything, any opportunity that came my way."

This is an outside linebacker to watch all summer.

Myles Jack

Is the Steelers inside linebacker room saved? Well, as much as everyone wants to believe Devin Bush's spark is gone, maybe having a reliable partner next to him will help bring it back. 

This is the first time since Vince Williams the Steelers have someone playing next to Bush that isn't a liability. And maybe Jack hasn't done anything impressive in a Steelers uniform yet, but that's what we're looking for at OTAs.

Having two capable players at inside linebacker can change the entire defense. It hasn't been since the Ryan Shazier days that Pittsburgh had players at the position with this much upside. 

Bush still has to bounce back, and Jack needs to prove himself. But the potential is certainly there.

The Entire Offensive Line

This isn't about seeing who's good and not good, this is about where everyone lines up. 

Right now, everyone is assuming what the starting offensive line will be, but OTAs will give us the first look at what the group looks like. 

Last season, it showed everyone that Kevin Dotson needed to earn his starting job. Injuries didn't help early, but it certainly opened a lot of eyes heading into the preseason.

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This year, it's going to be about where James Daniels, Mason Cole, Dotson and Kendrick Green line up - and who lines up with who. 

Best guess at the first five, as of now: Dan Moore Jr., Kevin Dotson, Kendrick Green, James Daniels and Chuks Okorafor. 

Mitchell Trubisky

Well, the hype around Mitchell Trubisky lasted about a month. Now, it's the Kenny Pickett train. But no one said the rookie is going to start. No one said Trubisky was either, though. 

This is the first time we get to see Trubisky throw for the Steelers. It's the first time we'll watch him connect with George Pickens, Calvin Austin, and hopefully Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool. 

It could also be the first time we see that there really is plenty of potential in the former second-overall pick. 

Nothing groundbreaking will come from OTAs. It's still VERY interesting, though.

Anthony McFarland 

If the Steelers are content with their current depth at running back, it's not because of Benny Snell Jr. The team has already seen what they're going to get out of the Kentucky product, and nothing new is coming in year four. 

However, we still have no idea what Anthony McFarland is capable of. 

McFarland hurt his knee at the most inopportune time last summer. Because of it, he spent most of the year on the bench and inactive on Sundays. But the Steelers decided to keep their current pieces and add nothing more than a few undrafted guys. 

If you had to guess, McFarland still has their eye. He appeared to take a big jump from year one to year two in 2021, but the injury cost him. If he can stay healthy this summer and shows more improvement, he feels like the backup piece that fits well into Matt Canada's offense. 

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