A closer look at preseason opponents

A closer look at the Steelers 2015 preseason opponents.
Minnesota Vikings – Sunday, Aug. 9 – Hall of Fame Game

Key Players: Teddy Bridgewater finished his rookie campaign at quarterback with 259 completions for 2,919 yards, 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Harrison Smith led the defense with five interceptions, including one for a touchdown, while Robert Blanton led the team in tackles with 106.

Key Offseason Additions: WR Mike Wallace, RB DuJuan Harris, LB Casey Matthews, QBs Shaun Hill and Mike Kafka, S Taylor Mays, CB Terence Newman, DE Caesar Rayford.

Mock Draft Outlook: NFL mock drafts have the Vikings looking at cornerback, wide receiver or guard this year, with the projected picks including Trae Waynes (CB, Michigan State), DeVante Parker (WR, Louisville) and Brandon Scherff (G, Iowa).

Jacksonville Jaguars – Week 1 – at Jacksonville

Key Players: The Steelers will face another second-year quarterback in Blake Bortles, who finished his rookie campaign throwing for 2,908 yards and 11 touchdowns. On defense Johnathan Cyprien led the team with 114 tackles, and a healthy Paul Posluszny will also make a huge impact on defense.

Key Offseason Additions: DT Jared Odrick, TE Julius Thomas, DB Sergio Brown, CB Davon House, OT Jeremy Parnell, LB Dan Skuta, RB Bernard Pierce, WR Bryan Walters.

Mock Draft Outlook: The majority of the mock drafts have the Jaguars selecting Florida outside linebacker Dante Fowler with the third overall pick. Another name thrown out there has been defensive end Leonard Williams from USC.


Green Bay Packers – Week 2 – at Heinz FieldKey Players:

The Packers offense is quarterback Aaron Rodgers (shown above), who threw for 4,381 yards and 38 touchdowns in 2014. But of course, he can't get by without a little help from his friends, in particular Eddie Lacy, who rushed for 1,139 yards last year and nine touchdowns, and Jordy Nelson, who finished the season with 1,519 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. * *

Key Offseason Additions:The Packers mainly re-signed their own this offseason, including WR Randall Cobb, OT Bryan Bulaga, QB Scott Tolzein, DT Letroy Guion and DE B.J. Raji. Mock Draft Outlook:

What will the Packers take with the 30th overall pick? It all depends on who you listen to. The possibilities from mock drafts include Jordan Phillips (NT, Oklahoma), Kevin Johnson (CB, Wake Forest), Maxx Williams (TE, Minnesota), Ereck Flowers (OT, Miami) and P.J. Williams (CB, Florida State).

Buffalo Bills – Week 3 – at Buffalo

Key Players: E.J. Manuel returns for the Bills at quarterback, but there is going to be competition at the spot with newly acquired Matt Cassel. Whoever gets the starting nod at quarterback will have second-year receiver Sammy Watkins at their disposal to throw to. Watkins finished last season with 982 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes are strong anchors at outside linebacker for the defense.

Key Offseason Additions: The biggest offseason addition for the Bills is new Head Coach Rex Ryan. But he isn't the only change in Buffalo as the team added RB LeSean McCoy, QB Matt Cassel, RB Jerome Felton, QB Tyrod Taylor, WR Percy Harvin, TE Charles Clay, and DE Jarius Wynn.
Mock Draft Outlook:
The Bills don't have a pick in the first round, but when their turn rolls around in the second round offensive line could be the direction they are looking to head. Another potential choice could be inside linebacker as well as upgrading at safety.

Carolina Panthers – Week 4 – at Heinz Field

Key Players: Quarterback Cam Newton is the one who runs the Panthers offense, but running back Jonathan Stewart, tight end Greg Olsen and receiver Kelvin Benjamin are the key cogs that keep things moving. On defense Luke Kuechly finished the 2014 season with a team-high 153 tackles.

Key Offseason Additions: WR Tedd Ginn, OT Michael Oher, DB Teddy Williams, S Kurt Coleman, OT Jonathan Martin, WR Jarrett Boykin, RB/KR Jordan Todman.

Mock Draft Outlook: NFL mock drafts have the Panthers looking at tackle this year, with the projected picks including T.J. Clemmings (Pittsburgh), Andrus Peat (Stanford), D.J. Humphries (Florida), Cedric Ogbuehi (Texas A&M) or La'El Collins (LSU).

The following is a look at the Steelers' 2015 preseason schedule:

Hall of Fame Gamevs. Minnesota VikingsNBC-TV
WEEK 1at Jacksonville JaguarsKDKA-TV
WEEK 2vs. Green Bay PackersKDKA-TV
WEEK 3at Buffalo BillsKDKA-TV
WEEK 4vs. Carolina PanthersKDKA-TV

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