LATROBE, Pa. -- A breakdown of the Pittsburgh Steelers' 2017 draft class and its progress after two weeks of training camp, leading with the first-round pick's push for a starting job.
T.J. Watt, OLB, first round (No. 30 overall): Watt's strong training camp coupled with a two-sack performance in the preseason opener gives coach Mike Tomlin plenty to consider with his outside linebacker lineup. Position coach Joey Porter told the Post-Gazette the team plans to turn over the OLB jobs to Watt and Bud Dupree on a full-time basis. Tomlin won't make sweeping judgments but adds he's "on the fence" about how many snaps to give 39-year-old James Harrison, who will likely contribute in a major way. But it's safe to say Watt is pushing for a No. 1 job. Meanwhile, Watt has shown a good grasp of the defense and versatility. He shined in one-on-ones in the flat against running backs, prompting coach Mike Tomlin to belt out last week, "Pedigree showing up!" He's adequate in pass coverage (though he's a bit too handsy), and his hand usage off the pass rush is noticeable. The big question: Does he have the strength and speed, at 252 pounds, to win consistently off the edge?
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, second round (No. 62 overall): With several key receivers sidelined, Smith-Schuster has increased his first-team reps and is taking advantage. He has suffered the occasional drop or offside penalty, but he knows how to get open and is a physical catcher -- he attacks the ball as it comes to him. Difficult catches are not a problem for him, and he has shown good footwork by the sideline. The top-end speed is not elite, but he offsets that in other areas. Smith-Schuster has dealt with ankle soreness and a concussion evaluation but is practicing in full now.
Cameron Sutton, CB, third round (No. 94 overall): Sutton has been a disappointment, largely because of his limited availability. He showed promise in offseason workouts but has barely seen the field due to a mysterious lower-body injury. This is tough for Sutton since there's space to take ownership of an outside corner spot behind Artie Burns and Ross Cockrell. The good news: The injury is not severe. The bad news: He's falling behind. But overall, the team likes his ball skills and ability to play press-man corner.
James Conner, RB, third round (No. 105 overall): In one full-pads practice, Conner was a physical runner who managed extra yards after contact. He also shined in one-on-one blocking drills with linebackers. He looks slimmer compared to his last year at Pitt. A shoulder injury has sidelined him for several days, but he increased his reps Monday, taking advantage with a nifty open-field move on safety Jordan Dangerfield to score a touchdown. Luckily for Conner, the stable of running backs isn't good enough to gain separation from him, though Fitz Toussaint is getting the No. 1 reps right now.
Josh Dobbs, QB, fourth round (No. 135 overall): Dobbs has had his rough moments, such as a two-minute-drill sequence where he missed three straight throws -- including one in the dirt on a crossing route. But Dobbs has impressed coaches with the way he rebounds from mistakes. He usually responds to a bad day with a series of good throws the next. The arm strength is adequate, and he has a calm demeanor on the field. Take the preseason opener against New York. Dobbs opened with two interceptions on his first four throws, but he completed seven of his last 11 passes for 96 yards and a score.
Brian Allen, CB, fifth round (No. 173 overall): Allen is one of the more intriguing draft picks, because he's running with the third string and is labeled a project receiver-turned-corner, but he flashes potential often. He doesn't look lost out there. His 6-foot-3 frame showed up on a deep-ball pass breakup in 11-man work Tuesday. He also tries to be physical against the run. He's not great at tracking the ball in the air but he can improve in that area.
Colin Holba, LS, sixth round (No. 213 overall): Holba hasn't made any glaring mistakes in special-teams drills, and that's about all you can ask from a long-snapper. But his work in preseason games will be the true barometer.
Keion Adams, OLB, seventh round (No. 248 overall): Another injury disappointment, Adams showed a quick first step in a handful of practices before going down with a shoulder injury. He was competing for a reserve spot behind Arthur Moats and Anthony Chickillo. Now, he might be an injured reserve or practice squad candidate.