The Duel

Steelers Backups That Will Be Starters by the End of the Season

Zach Brunner
Three Steelers backups that will start by the end of the season.
Three Steelers backups that will start by the end of the season. / Steven Ryan/Getty Images
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The Pittsburgh Steelers got off to a rough start in 2019, losing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for the year in Week 2. We quickly saw how much this team depended on his big arm to create offensive production, but the elite defense kept this team in the playoff race.

Heading into 2020, expectations are higher. There are multiple positions where we could have battles during training camp that carry into the regular season. These are three Steelers backups that will become starters by the end of the season.

1. Diontae Johnson, WR

Diontae Johnson led the team in targets as a rookie.
Diontae Johnson led the team in targets as a rookie. / Sarah Stier/Getty Images

James Washington is currently listed as the starter, due to his rapport with Ben Roethlisberger. Washington is a terrific deep threat, but it's Diontae Johnson that has looked like the better all-around receiver so far, with the ability to find space on intermediate routes and make plays after the catch. Once he earns the trust of Big Ben, the second-year receiver will see a lot of field time.

2. Benny Snell, RB

Benny Snell ran for 426 yards as a rookie.
Benny Snell ran for 426 yards as a rookie. / Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

There are some draft experts predicting the Steelers to draft a running back with their second-round pick. If that's the case, this pick switches to that guy. This prediction is more about James Conner not finishing the season as the starting running back. With his inability to stay healthy, Conner is going to give others opportunities. Benny Snell impressed as a rookie, with his physicality and willingness to run through people.

3. Cameron Sutton, CB

Cameron Sutton was a third-round pick in 2017.
Cameron Sutton was a third-round pick in 2017. / Al Pereira/Getty Images

Cameron Sutton was a third-round draft pick by the Steelers back in 2017. Since then, his development has been slow, but he has been improving. He played a quarter of the defensive snaps last season and only allowed a 56 percent completion rate, which is much better than the 69 percent from the season prior. If the Steelers do not bring in another corner, we could see Sutton develop into the third cornerback on this talented defense.


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