The Steelers final OTA session will take place on Thursday, with minicamp next week putting a bow on the team's offseason. For rookie Cameron Sutton, the three weeks of learning have been incredibly valuable.
"It's a process," said Sutton. "You don't just do the things you do on the field overnight. There are a lot of things that go on behind the scenes that lead up to those moments and points throughout the course of the game. You get all of these practice reps that help. All these repetitions so when you get those opportunities you are ready to go."
Sutton, one of the Steelers third-round draft picks, is using every repetition to get better, to improve his game and be ready when things get real when training camp rolls around in late July.
"I am taking it one day at a time," said Sutton. "Getting around the veteran guys. Being open to coaching and critique. Just coming in with a positive mentality and attitude every day and being ready to compete and work."
He knows growth right now is a key. Making mistakes during OTAs isn't costly. Making them during a game is another story. So he listens to the critiques and welcomes every bit of advice that is offered.
"It's all about working and getting better, elevating each other's games around us, as well as yourself," said Sutton. "Any time you can get coached, get some help or advice on the field, for all of us to benefit and be successful you have to be open to it."
And the advice is coming from everywhere. His fellow guys in the secondary, others on defense, and even those on the other side of the ball.
"I have been around all of the guys," said Sutton. "Not just on the defensive side of the ball, but the offensive side as well. We are all tied to each other on the field from a defensive aspect. You have to know what everyone is doing. It's good to get around the offensive guys to get their perspective too. What are they thinking on plays, what is their mentality on the field in certain situations? That helps your game as well."
The one player having the biggest impact on him is Artie Burns. Burns was in his shoes last year, a rookie trying to learn the defense, anxious to make an impact. Burns has taken Sutton under his wing, helping him along the way and knowing that will benefit all of them when OTAs transition into meaningful games.
"We talk every day," said Sutton. "We are always around each other. It's not just in the facility. I have been to his house a couple of times since I have been here. That is building that bond. When you are tied to a string out there on the field, you know what guys are thinking, it makes the whole game slow down for you. You have that opportunity, that fellowship that goes on off the field, to become one unit."