Five Questions Steelers Will Continue to Answer During Minicamp

The Pittsburgh Steelers move to Heinz Field for minicamp with plenty left to figure out this summer.
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PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers kick off minicamp Tuesday at Heinz Field with plenty of questions still left to answer.

Organized Team Activities provided some insight, but only so much can be said when it's voluntary workouts. As the team continues to work on implementing schemes and a new offense, they'll take a step forward this week and begin to see what players stand out - and what players can fill holes.

Ten players stood out at OTAs the last three weeks, leaving hope someone can step in at slot corner, center and provide depth at, well, pretty much everywhere.

At minicamp, the Steelers will be looking for those players to answer these questions.

Is There Anyone Who Can Play Inside Corner?

Right now, the best options for the Steelers at the slot are Arthur Maulet, Lamont Wade and Tre Norwood. Realistically, their best option - at least right now - is bumping Cam Sutton inside and letting James Pierre or Justin Layne play the outside.

OTAs showed up Norwood and Wade have potential. They both filled in at safety and slot, playing well at both. Maulet showed physicality and experience when on the field. None were impressive enough to say there's a starter in the group.

Pierre looks the best through phase one of offseason camps. Does that continue, or does one of the younger guys step up and allow Sutton to play more outside? That's what we're watching at minicamp.

Is Dwayne Haskins For Real?

If Haskins really can throw a football through a carwash without it getting wet, does that mean he's the next starting quarterback of the Steelers? For some reason, that's what Big Ben's words on the new passer meant to many last week.

Haskins obviously brings potential to the team. Right now, he wasn't any more impressive than Josh Dobbs or Mason Rudolph at OTAs. That can change, though.

Rudolph is walking into minicamp as the backup, but Haskins does have some shot at beating out his competition. It can't be compliments from his teammates that land him the job, though. It needs to be a clear advantage having him at No. 2 compared to Rudolph.

What's the Pecking Order at Running Back?

Najee Harris is the starter. We know this. Afterward, it's hard to say what the running back depth chart looks like following OTAs.

Benny Snell Jr. looked like the big, tough runner he's been the last two years. Anthony McFarland looks bigger, quicker and more instinctive in year two. However, he was only at a limited number of voluntary practices, so the sample size is small.

Those two are fighting for the backup job. Jaylen Samuels looks like he's a little bored out there. Kalen Ballage was fighting hard for a job. So, behind Snell and McFarland is up for grabs, with Ballage carrying a slight lead into minicamp, in my opinion.

Who's Taking First-Team Reps at Center?

It was Kendrick Green or B.J. Finney taking most of the first-team reps during OTAs. Not saying J.C. Hassenauer is winning the job before training camp, but it's a start and shows this team does have confidence in him.

We're still waiting on Green to put pads on and show his nastiness everyone keeps talking about.

Minicamp might not be the place Finney or Green takes the lead in the competition, but it'll add more time for both to see the field with their offense. If either one shows signs of breaking out, the Steelers will give them their chance, which might switch up the first team order moving into July.

Is There Room for Improvement?

Malik Hooker's name continues to float around the Steelers after visiting with them last week. The Steelers might need depth at safety behind Terrell Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick, but it's too early to tell.

The Steelers have options. Norwood is a promising late-round pick, Miles Killebrew adds veteran experience, and the mix-and-match offseason additions of Maulet and Wade have some potential.

Even Antoine Brooks Jr. might squeeze his way into some sort of role.

At outside linebacker, Alex Highsmith and T.J. Watt are the starters. Behind them, though, Quincy Roche might not be enough. Still, it's too early to tell.

Minicamp will add more context to the depth chart in Pittsburgh. If the gaps are as glaring as they are right now, adding a free agent makes sense. If younger guys step up, there's no point in putting money on the market when there are capable players on the roster.

Noah Strackbein is a Publisher with AllSteelers. Follow Noah on Twitter @NoahStrack, and AllSteelers @si_steelers.

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