A weekend of learning for rookies

Getting to know you: The Steelers wrapped up their three-day rookie minicamp on Sunday, and now the group will join veterans for the final week of Phase Two of the offseason program, before OTAs begin on May 21.

Many of the rookies are excited to work with the veterans at their position, including third-round pick Diontae Johnson who wants to learn from fellow receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.

“I’m excited,” said Diontae Johnson. “JuJu is a great player, a Pro Bowl receiver. For me to come in here and learn from him, soak up as much information I can from him and apply that to my game, I’m excited. He’s a great player. I can’t wait to learn from him.”

Benny Snell, the fourth-round pick from Kentucky, can’t wait to work with the likes of James Conner and others in the Steelers’ backfield.

“There are a lot of weapons and guys I have been looking up to since I was little,” said Snell. “I can’t wait to learn from them. I am excited to work with them. James Conner, he is amazing. I can’t wait to meet him and learn from him.”

Loves to win: First-round pick Devin Bush, who signed his contract on Sunday, made an early impression calling the defense in his first practice, but he doesn’t want it to stop there. He wants to show that he is the perfect fit overall for the defense.

“Pittsburgh is known for their defense, being a defensive team,” said Bush. “The guys that are in place on defense and offense go hand-in-hand. We will feed off each other.

“I will bring an attitude to the defense. I have a winning mentality. A leader. A guy who loves to play football. This team wants to win, and I am a guy that loves to win.”

Hello again: Minicamp was the first opportunity for coaches to get their first look at the team’s nine draft picks, as well as the undrafted rookie free agents who joined the team post-draft.

It was also an opportunity for some players to catch up with each other, including Johnson and Snell. The two have the same agent and roomed together at the NFL Combine.

“Diontae is amazing, he’s a cool guy, cool dude, got some hands, and I’m excited that we get Part II,” said Snell. “When he got drafted and I got drafted, I am like, ‘Part II, better get ready.’”

Feeding him: Snell was easily one of the most entertaining rookies, speaking openly and enthusiastically, especially when he described what he referred to as ‘Benny Snell football.’

“Benny Snell football can be second and three, third and three, fourth and two,” said Snell. “It can be third and goal, fourth and goal. It can be four-minute offense. You just have to run the clock out to win the game. It’s just feeding him. Letting him run it up. He is going to get up, he is having fun, he might dance a little bit. But he is going to run it back and do it again. Everybody in the stadium, both teams, know what is happening.

“It works because you put the ball in a playmaker’s hands and he makes plays. That is really it.”

Steelers' rookies take the field for rookie minicamp

He said it: Third-round pick Justin Layne on his experience playing receiver helping him in the secondary:

“I can just play the ball in the air. I feel like that’s one of my strengths. Just playing receiver, I feel like I already know what they’re going to do and their route combination.”

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