Offseason Program

A look back before looking ahead

The rookie minicamp the Steelers staged last weekend was just a start, but it was also a significant first step.

That much hasn't changed in the NFL.

"It's just part of the process," head coach Mike Tomlin assessed. "Your career has to start somewhere, so whether it's 2018 or 1998 this weekend is an important step in the process for everyone that has played NFL football."

The next steps will be taken beginning next week at OTAs.

Before the Steelers get there, here's a look back at some of what stood out from the rookies:

HE GETS IT: Third-round pick Mason Rudolph admittedly has a lot to learn, but he apparently already knows how to be a quarterback.

"He has a really big arm, strong arm," observed wide receiver Marcus Tucker, a first-year pro and a practice squad veteran who was participating in his third rookie minicamp with the Steelers. "He throws a great ball, and I like his leadership thus far. I feel like the kid is really able to bring the team in and kind of get everybody settled and get ready and get rockin'. I'm excited for that, to see where he goes.

"Guys notice that. Certain guys just have a command of the huddle and I think he's one of those guys that can really grasp the togetherness of the offense."

LINES OF COMMUNICATION: Tomlin saw what he wanted to see from first-round pick Terrell Edmunds and fifth-round selection Marcus Allen, in past because Tomlin heard what he needed to hear from the two rookie safeties.

"The way that you stand out at this juncture is just communicating, or willingness to communicate," Tomlin said. "I like to hear a lot of pre-snap chatter. Both guys are providing that. It shows you a lot of things. It shows you they are into it, they are situationally aware. The safety is a communicating position, so that is a job requirement. It also shows that they are capable of learning things we are presenting to them in the classroom and taking it out to the field.

"I like what I am hearing from them prior to the ball being snapped."

TRUE TO THEIR WORD: The Steelers had said upon drafting fifth-round running back Jaylen Samuels that they intended to explore ways to get the ball to the former tight end and H-back at N.C. State.

That process is already off and running.

"They have me playing a lot of different positions," Samuels said. "Right now they have me in the backfield, running the ball as well, also in the slot, moving around, playing outside receiver, pretty much what I was doing in college.

"I love route running. I like to get the details in the routes and beat people in open space. I have been doing that all of my life."

Take a look at some of the best photos from Steelers' Rookie minicamp this past weekend.

JUST PLAY: Edmunds was another player who embraced playing multiple positions.

"I played some safety, a lot of safety," he said. "I played a few little linebacker positions, just going out there competing. Sometimes, I was over the top, it just depends on how everything unfolded. There are a lot of calls being made. Marcus Allen and I, we're both calling it back and forth. We have a lot of communication between us because we both can be interchangeable at the position.

"You have to go out there and play ball. Any position that you go to, you have to make a play. The coaches, they're putting you in a position to make a play. Regardless of where they put you, they believe in you. I'm just going to go out there and give 'em all I got and, hopefully, make a play for them."

SHORT COMMUTE: Undrafted wide receiver Quadree Henderson arrived from Pitt, which shares the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex with the Steelers.

"I know a lot about the Steelers," he said. "I would see Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell, all of them, and watch them practice. Seeing them all of the time, I could see how hard they worked. Now I am glad I get to head right next door and work with a bunch of Pro Bowlers and future Hall of Famers."