Steelers Notebook: Chickillo Turning Heads

The Steelers' sixth-round rookie OLB played like a first-rounder, at least at Thursday's practice. Here's the full report:

LATROBE -- July football doesn't normally involve Mike Tomlin acknowledging a rookie's performance, or even a rookie.

But when Tomlin was asked if sixth-round pick Anthony Chickillo showed him anything Thursday, Tomlin said, "Good work."

The outside linebacker caught Tomlin's eye during the backers-on-tight ends drill. Chickillo bested Cameron Clear, a 270-pound rookie tight end who just had his way with first-round pick Bud Dupree.

In the next period, a run-heavy team scrimmage, Chickillo seemingly dominated. In his series with the second team, Chickillo made a tackle-for-loss and another tackle at the line as he spent plenty of time in the opposing backfield.

In a later appearance against the first team, Chickillo beat Marcus Gilbert inside and had a bead on Le'Veon Bell, but Bell cut back sharply to the vacated side as Chickillo learned an NFL lesson.

The converted 4-3 and 3-4 defensive end from Miami also caught the eye of Steelers broadcast analyst Tunch Ilkin, who, during a live spot for Steelers Nation Radio, said, "If you came here knowing the Steelers drafted an outside linebacker in the first round, and these guys weren't wearing numbers, you would think that first-round pick was Anthony Chickillo."

At least at Thursday's practice.


Dupree, the outside linebacker the Steelers did draft in the first round, has yet to get untracked. He did put some pressure on quarterback Landry Jones late in practice, but didn't inspire any emotion -- or even coachly chatter -- during his one-on-one performance against just-signed rookie tackle Kevin Palmer.

Dupree rushed wide but Palmer rode him outside until the whistle. Dupree left the all-too-quiet pit for another drill dealing with coverage backers on the other side of the field. (Chickillo then stepped in and easily beat Palmer for a sack.)

Dupree's best moment came early. On the first snap of the backers-on-tight ends drill, Dupree, matched against Heath Miller, read the running back and got inside of Miller to make the play.

"All right, big boy," Tomlin said to Dupree.

"Hey, Bud!" defensive coordinator Keith Butler hollered. When Dupree turned, Butler pumped his fist.

So it was a mixed showing for Dupree.

At least at Thursday's practice.


* Ryan Shazier played the run much better than he did Wednesday. It began in the "Seven Shots" drill for two-point conversions, when Shazier sniffed out a draw to DeAngelo Williams and shot behind the line, spun Williams around by the hips and threw him for a loss.

* Will Johnson handled Jarvis Jones on back-to-back snaps in the backers-on-tight ends drill.

* Rookie tight end Jesse James took Arthur Moats to the last instant of a "rubber match" before Moats claimed a best-of-three win in backers-on-TEs.

* Clear, the physically imposing rookie TE, beat Dupree on three consecutive snaps in the drill.

* During full scrimmage, rookie Sammie Coates took a handoff on a reverse but Jarvis Jones beat the tackle to blow the play up. And then Shazier swooped in to blow the play UP!

* Shazier could've blown Miller up on a pass over the middle but ran past and just tapped the tight end.

* Vince Williams did the same to Landry Jones after DeAngelo Williams whiffed on a blitz pick-up.

* Martavis Bryant again makes the highlight reel with his catch of an extreme back-shoulder fade from Landry Jones while lying on the ground.

* Dri Archer ripped off a run to end the second scrimmage session, and gained 15 yards on an open-field run-after-catch to end the third scrimmage.

* First-year OT Mitchell Van Dyk pushed Dupree to the ground and held off Chickillo's bull rush on back-to-back reps in lineman one-on-ones.

* Kelvin Beachum and Jarvis Jones went a full five reps before Beachum could claim a 3-2 win in one-on-ones.


The Steelers got another good look at their depth in the defensive backfield with Mike Mitchell, Cortez Allen, Will Allen and Ross Ventrone still out. Robert Golden replaced Mitchell at free safety and Antwon Blake replaced Cortez Allen at cornerback.

Also out were James Harrison and Matt Spaeth.

Tomlin called the injuries to Mitchell and Cortez Allen "very minor."

"No injuries really to speak of," Tomlin said. "Cortez Allen should practice tomorrow. (We'll) probably continue to watch Mike Mitchell for a day or two. All the other guys, PUP guys, are status quo. Good work from Maurkice Pouncey today with the rehab staff, so he's probably getting close. He's probably the closest of that group."

Ben Roethlisberger didn't participate in full scrimmages, leaving the bulk of the work to Landry Jones.

"Thought he had a good day today," Tomlin said of Jones. "I thought he did some nice things today with the extra snaps we gave him."


After practice, Tomlin spotted rookie wide receiver Eli Rogers leaving the field and hollered, "Eli, you leaving?"

Tomlin added, "I see 84 over there outworking you."

After a pause, Tomlin said, "That's OK. Don't feel bad about it."

"I'm not feeling bad," Rogers said as he turned around and began walking back to the field.

"It's OK!" Tomlin emphasized.

But Rogers kept walking back and eventually joined Antonio Brown at the JUGS machine.

Related video

Steel City Insider Top Stories