3 Steelers Players in Danger of Losing Their Starting Jobs in the 2020 NFL Season

Zach Brunner
James Conner is entering the final year of his contract.
James Conner is entering the final year of his contract. / Katharine Lotze/Getty Images
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The Pittsburgh Steelers had a disappointing 2019 season, following the early injury to Ben Roethlisberger. They still managed to hang around in the playoff race, due to their tough defense. With Big Ben looking on track to be ready for Week 1, the expectations rise for the Steelers in 2020.

Pittsburgh will be to be at its best all season long, competing with the tough Baltimore Ravens and rising Cleveland Browns in the division. Since they will need to be sharp week in and week out, some players could be on a short leash this season.

With that in mind, these are the three Steelers player most in danger of losing their starting jobs in 2020.

1. James Washington, WR

James Washington's role has been limited in the Steelers' offense.
James Washington's role has been limited in the Steelers' offense. / Steven Ryan/Getty Images

James Washington has mostly been utilized as a deep threat on the Steelers. While he should see the field often, he may not hold a starting role, with a couple other talented players fighting for field time. Second-year receiver Diontae Johnson looked good as a rookie, and the Steelers taking him in the third round means they like his upside. Pittsburgh used yet another early draft pick on a wide receiver this season, taking Chase Claypool in the second round. Typically, you don't draft someone in the second round for them to watch on the sidelines.

2. James Conner, RB

James Conner has missed nine games the past two seasons.
James Conner has missed nine games the past two seasons. / Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

James Conner is heading into his final season of his rookie contract. This means the Steelers could either give him a big workload and not worry about wear and tear, or they will use their other backs, limiting Conner's leverage for next season's contract negotiations. Behind him is receiving back Jaylen Samuels, the tough second-year back Benny Snell, and fourth-round rookie Anthony McFarland Jr. If Conner struggles or gets injured yet again, the Steelers have plenty of options for a replacement.

3. Vance McDonald, TE

Vance McDonald has missed nine games in his three Steelers seasons.
Vance McDonald has missed nine games in his three Steelers seasons. / Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Vance McDonald has had an inconsistent NFL career, mostly due to injuries. While he did show chemistry with Roethlisberger in 2018, when he went for over 600 yards, the Steelers made the move to bring in receiving tight end Eric Ebron this offseason. Ebron is the better athlete and can be an elite red zone weapon for the Steelers. If he comes back healthy and looks good enough, Ebron could take over the starting job permanently.


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