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Winners and Losers: Steelers Have Young Talent Hidden on Defense

It was not a great night for the Pittsburgh Steelers offense, but there were bright spots on defense.

As the Pittsburgh Steelers preseason comes to a close, so too do any opportunities for fringe roster players to prove they deserve a spot on the final 53-man roster.

Who stood out and who took a step down in Week 4 of the preseason? Here are the winners and losers for the Steelers in their final action before Week 1:

Winners

EDGE Cassius Marsh

Marsh had his best showing since the Hall of Fame Game. He had several pressures, including helping Chris Wormley finish off a QB knockdown of Sam Darnold, and looked good in containing the run.

Expect Marsh to make the roster as a rotational edge piece to help on short-yardage situations and special teams. He’s a veteran presence that could serve the locker room well

DE Isaiahh Loudermilk

What a pleasant surprise Loudermilk has been this preseason. In a crowded defensive line, he was able to stand out compared to guys like Carlos Davis and Henry Mondeaux, breaking through the interior on multiple occasions vs. Carolina.

In terms of where he’ll fit in on the roster, Loudermilk will be a depth piece behind Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt, but could also give Tyson Alualu a breather on the interior. He has shown that he was worth trading up into the fifth round to acquire.

EDGE Jamir Jones

Jones has been fantastic this preseason. He’s gotten to the quarterback in every game and the moment doesn’t look too big for him as an undrafted free agent. He is constantly in the backfield making the quarterback move, and isn’t that what you want from an edge rusher?

His role will likely be as a special teams guy, but if any of the Steelers pass rushers were to go down with injury, Jones could step in and get some snaps.

Losers

QB Dwayne Haskins

The box score makes his performance look worse than it was, but by no means was Haskins’ play very good. He went 9/16 for 108 yards and a touchdown to an interception in a game that potentially could have won him the backup job. Odds are, Mason Rudolph will remain QB2 on the depth chart.

It was just the same old Dwayne Haskins we came to know in Washington. He looked rushed and he still cannot consistently throw on the run. If he wants to compete for a backup job, or work his way into a battle for a starting position in the NFL, these are things he needs to improve on.

WR Matthew Sexton

Sexton had a good punt return in the Hall of Fame game against Dallas and seemed to try and recapture that against Carolina. Instead, he muffed two punts, one of which was recovered by Carolina and led to a touchdown.

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In defense of Sexton, he was trying to make as many plays as he could to try and show he belongs on a roster. That said, sometimes you need to know when to just let the ball go instead of forcing it. Not making a play is better than making a bad play, and that will likely leave him on the practice squad or a free agent.

RB Benny Snell

This isn’t to say Snell played terribly against Carolina, but outside of the 17-yard carry, he didn’t do a whole lot. He’s missed time due to injury, and Anthony McFarland and Kalen Ballage have both looked good in his absence. McFarland seems like he could be the primary backup to Najee Harris, which leaves Snell competing for fewer snaps.

In all likelihood, Snell will make the roster. Don’t be surprised, though, if the Steelers move him to a team like Jacksonville, who just lost Travis Etienne for the year. The Steelers have three competent backs on the roster already, which could leave Snell as trade bait. 

Jarrett Bailey is a contributor with AllSteelers. Follow Jarrett on Twitter @JBaileyNFL, and AllSteelers @si_steelers.

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