As the Steelers continue their weekend of rookie minicamp, head coach Mike Tomlin and his staff are busy not only getting to know the team's rookie draft class, but evaluating some others while also trying to establish how the team likes to accomplish its work.
It's a lot to cram into one weekend. But the idea is that when these rookies are melded together with the team's veteran players in a couple of weeks when on-field OTAs begin, the rookies will have a good idea of what's required of them on a daily basis.
"It was a really important weekend for us here as we lay some foundational things individually and collectively, continuing the getting-to-know process in some cases, getting to know them and introducing ourselves to them, how we do things, what's expected," Tomlin said Saturday. "But also, it's a tryout opportunity for many men. We're multi-tasking here. It's important we create an environment where they get an opportunity to learn and show some skills and be evaluated. It's an opportunity for us to give and receive some information and see how they learn. To work on some presentational things from a coaching perspective. It is a lot of little things that are getting done that make this an important weekend. It's just fun to spend time with them."
There's plenty of information to be gleaned, both on and off the field.
Can a player take information given to him in the classroom and take it directly to the field, or is he someone who has to see it done on the field before he picks it up? How does he interact with coaches and other players in the classroom setting? What's he like off the field?
It's all information Tomlin and his staff are collecting.
"We had a dinner last night, and it's not necessarily football, just getting to know one another further, introducing them to Acrisure Stadium and things of that nature," Tomlin said. "That's just kind of reflective of the things we're doing and people we have an opportunity to expose them to, and places, not only within our organization, but around town."
For the seven rookies the team selected in last month's NFL Draft, the team has had some level of interaction over the course of the draft process. For others, this was their first opportunity to be exposed to the coaching staff and vice versa.
The Steelers have traditionally signed at least a few of the guys who attend rookie minicamp to their regular roster, including players who wound up contributing during the regular season such as linebacker Terrance Garvin and quarterback Devlin Hodges.
"I think the thing you look for when you're talking about a tryout guy are things you can't coach, the pedigree-related things, the things they bring. If it's above the line, meaning at a professional level, then you consider them," Tomlin said. "That's where we start first. You look at movement, speed, body control, their ability to drop their weight, change of direction, things of that nature, per their positions. It's a lot of pedigree-related things from an evaluation standpoint."
But players need to show things in a short amount of time.
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For example, Tomlin was asked what he's seen from the two quarterbacks the team brought in for tryouts this weekend – rookie Hunter Johnson of Clemson and second-year pro Bryce Perkins, a Virginia product who appeared in five games with the Rams last season.
"Not a lot. They've been attentive and professional," he said. "Hopefully, we get to see a lot more the next two days."
• Tomlin was asked about the team's slot cornerback position after the release of veteran Arthur Maulet last week.
The Steelers also lost veteran Cameron Sutton in free agency. Combined Sutton and Maulet handled over 500 of the team's snaps in the slot last season.
"We're comfortable with the collective we have in that space," Tomlin said.
The Steelers signed veteran nickel cornerback Chandon Sullivan, who has played over 2,000 snaps in the slot the past three seasons with the Packers and Vikings, following the NFL Draft earlier this month.