PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers watched some big names leave the Steel City this offseason with high hopes for the next chapter of their NFL careers.
Bud Dupree, James Conner, Mike Hilton are looking to find their footing in new uniforms this offseason. Through the first portion of summer camps, these players hit the field for the first time with different teammates.
So, let's check-in. AllSteelers reached out to get the scoop on how these former Steelers are adjusting to life outside of Pittsburgh.
Linebackers in Tennesse
AllTitans Publisher David Boclair provided updates on a couple of former Steelers turned Titans. Dupree is continuing a superstar run after ACL surgery last season. Ola Adeniyi and Tuzar Skipper are looking for a place in Tennessee alongside their Pittsburgh teammate.
"He has spent most of the offseason rehabbing his knee in Atlanta and taking part in OTA meetings via Zoom. He did come to town for this week's mandatory minicamp and declared himself "on schedule" in his recovery. He did not take part in any on-field work. Nor did he say when he expected to be cleared for full activity. He did. however, say that he knows what is expected of him in terms of improving the Titans' pass rush and that he welcomes the pressure and that he plans to help everyone on the defense be better in that regard."
"The Titans have devoted a roster spot in recent years to a linebacker who is almost exclusively a special teams performer. That looks to be Adeniyi's role this year. With Dupree and Harold Landry, they are set with starters at outside linebacker who can play a lot of snaps. Third-year man Derick Roberson got a long look in minicamp, and fourth-round pick Rashad Weaver (out of Pitt) will get his turn as well. Adeniyi, therefore, can expect to play on all special teams and on defense only when absolutely needed."
"He had worked himself from the practice squad into a regular role (four games, including his first NFL start) before an injury sidelined him for the final three weeks of the season. The Titans quickly signed him to a futures contract after their playoff loss to Buffalo, but for now, he is back to being a long shot to make the roster unless he shows dramatic improvement as a pass rusher during the preseason."
Mike Hilton, Cincinatti Bengals
This one stung for Steelers fans, but Mike Hilton deserved to be paid and the Bengals wanted to pay him. While Pittsburgh looks for the next nickelback in their defense, Hilton is putting in the work to stay an x-factor with a new team.
AllSteelers talked with James Rapien, Publisher of AllBengals, about the former Steelers cornerback.
"Mike Hilton was one of the more popular Bengals offseason additions," Rapien said. "The former Steelers cornerback will be the starting nickel in Cincinnati. The Bengals coaching staff is pleased with what they've seen from Hilton so far. They expect him to bring a physical presence to their cornerback room. Much like he did in Pittsburgh, Hilton is expected to blitz from the nickel spot regularly. We didn't see him tackle anyone during the offseason program due to how the practices were structured, but Hilton is off to a good start in Cincinnati and the organization is expecting him to have a big season."
Matt Feiler, Los Angeles Chargers
Feiler left Pittsburgh after bouncing around the offensive line for years. A key component to the line at tackle in 2019, Feiler dealt with injuries and a bit of a drop-off in production after moving to guard in 2020.
Chargers Reports Publisher Fernando Ramirez said Feiler showed up to OTAs after a few days but didn't do too much to stand out or enough for reporters to pay much attention to him.
Still, Feiler is adjusting well with his teammates. Center Corey Linsley said Feiler has gained a quick understanding of how the team communicates upfront.
"A lot of it is through communication, both on the field and off the field," explained Linsley. "When we were running through individual drills today, we had a few combination blocks with Oday (Aboushi) and Matt (Fieler), and I'm asking them, 'hey, was that the kind of look that you wanted?' Matt responded with 'Yeah, yeah, for sure.'"
James Conner, Arizona Cardinals
AllCardinals Publisher Howard Balzer said there wasn't much to see during minicamp, but former Steelers running back James Conner was working hard.
More importantly, he looked "healthy."
Conner is hoping a change in scenery is the answer to some slumps the last two seasons. The 26-year-old is yet to finish a 16-game season, playing in just 13 games last year and ten the year before.
He'll work in a backfield with Chase Edmonds, but the starting job is certainly up for grabs. It'll be interesting to check back in during training camp.
Make sure to stay up-to-date with all the former Steelers as we provide updates throughout the summer. Next stop is camp, where the competition will heat up, and the expectations will begin to unfold.
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