By Cody Strahm @CodyJStrahm on May 28, 2014
The Pittsburgh Steelers' offseason training regimen is now in full swing. Here are five storylines to follow during the club's OTA sessions.
Former third-round pick Sean Spence has yet to play an NFL snap after a gruesome knee injury during the 2012 preseason. He's finally been cleared to play this spring, though, and was back on the field with his teammates at the start of OTAs on Tuesday. He could be a key acquisition for the Steelers if he can return to form and shake off the rust.
2013 was an abhorrent year for cornerback Ike Talyor, who finished as Pro Football Focus' No. 97 most efficient corner out of 110 qualifying players at the position. At 34 years old, Taylor has clearly lost a step, but after Pittsburgh failed to select a cornerback early in the draft, there's a good chance he'll remain a key contributor, if not a starter.
The Steelers snagged a small but explosive playmaker in Kent State's Dri Archer during the draft's third round. Archer possesses the world-class speed to be a true asset on Pittsburgh's offense, but how exactly will he be used? Early indications are he'll handle both punt and kick return duties in addition to his offensive role, which has yet to be determined.
The Steelers wasted no time inserting No. 15 overall pick Ryan Shazier into the starting lineup, placing him there in the club's first OTA session. Shazier is a high-ceiling player with freakish speed and athleticism, but it should be interesting to monitor how he holds up versus the run early on. He's a bit undersized and struggled to disengage from blockers at times at Ohio State.
Antonio Brown is obviously safe as a starter and Lance Moore is expected to take over slot duties, but the starting X receiver spot is for the taking. The candidates are Markus Wheaton, the favorite, and Martavis Bryant, the raw rookie with jaw-dropping measurables. It should be a fun battle to monitor throughout OTAs and into the summer.
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