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Armchair GM – Steelers Go Local for Priority Free Agents

May 1, 2017
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Armchair GM – Steelers Go Local for  Priority Free Agents

The Steelers filled out the remainder of their roster with local phone calls, signing four of their undrafted free agents from Pitt and West Virginia.

The lack of enthusiasm shown in the later rounds of the Draft continues into a very lackluster free agent group. Very little imagination or effort seems to have gone into these signings.

Strong blocking Pitt TE, Scott Orndorf, will challenge Xavier Grimble and David Johnson for a roster spot. Swing Offensive Lineman, Ethan Cooper, will have a chance of seeing if he can stick. WV RB Rushel Shell may be able to make the Practice Squad. The list of US betting sites seem to feel the rest just seem to be bodies to fill the roster out.

Nelson Adams DT – 6-3, 287 – Mississippi State – A body for practice. No Combine invite. No film. No production. No chance. 25 tackles, 2.5 for loss and 2.5 in 2016.

Christian Brown DT – 6-3, 295 – West Virginia – DE/DT rotational prospect. Some good quick twitch characteristics. Good run stuffer. 34 tackles, 4.5 for loss and 2.0 sacks in his Senior year. Has potential to make the Practice Squad.

Ethan Cooper OG – 6-2, 322 – Indiana-Pennsylvania – The XXXL Division II prospect surprised many by getting a Combine invite. He put up an impressive 27/250# bench press. ” Big NFL-caliber frame. Thick from his calves to his shoulders. Has experience at both tackle and guard. Possesses good upper body power. Lateral quickness is adequate. Runs his feet through contact looking to turn opponent out of the hole. Plays with decent feet in space. Shows ability to adjust to moving targets on second level. Has desired body control and balance for his size. Scouts say he has good football intelligence with an understanding of defensive concepts.” NFL Network

Francis Kallon DE – 6-5 – 295 – Georgia Tech – Barely saw action in college. Has very little chance of making it past the 1st cut. 6 games 15 tackles, 3.0 for loss and 2.0 sacks in 2016.

Keith Kelsey LB – 6-0, 233 – Louisville – Had good production with Louisville but is a very wooden ILB. Not very instinctive. Not a good hitter. Misses tackles. His film against Fla St. looked like a Dalvin Cook highlight reel. Another player who should be gone with the 1st cut

Scott Orndoff TE – 6-4, 253 – Pittsburgh – Strong blocking Pitt Tight End has a chance of making the team by beating out Xavier Grimble or David Johnson. Can find the soft spot in zones. In his final year Orndoff proved a good short to intermediate receiving option with 35 catches for 579 yards for a 16.5 ypc and 5 TDs. Was a viable Red Zone target in his Senior year.

Nick Schuessler QB – 6-3, 196, Clemson – This is prime example of what I’m talking about. A career long college backup QB has no business in an NFL training camp. If Schussler thought he had what it takes he would’ve transferred to a college where he could start. He didn’t. Waste of time and a waste of space.

Rushel Shell RB – 5-9, 227 – West Virginia – Shell’s combination of strong running between and off tackle combined with his pass catching ability and blocking gives him a chance of making the Practice Squad. 450 rushes for 2010 yards and 4.5 with 20 TDs and 49 catches for 341 yards and a 7.0 yard average for his career.

Terrish Webb DB – 5-10, 190 – Pittsburgh – At least he won’t have far to go after he’s cut. A stiff hipped, slow reacting Defensive Back who totally lacks the coverage skills for CB while also lacking the field awareness and instincts of a Safety. His ‘highlight reel’ is full of him being late to diagnose the play and coming from 5 yards away to make the tackle.

While it’s not bad to have a couple players from college Free Agent signings having the potential to make the team, the overall lack of imagination of these signings gives me pause. Starting after the 4th Rd of the Draft Tomlin, Colbert and company behaved as if they barely cared. They passed over many talented players to draft people who have little chance of making the practice squad, let alone the team. It’s as if they thought their roster was set and it didn’t matter. As I said in my 2017 Draft Review that is a bad way to think when trying to add talent to the team.

Well, a very short amount of time will tell if any of these guys have a chance to stick.

Priority Free Agent Signing Grade: D

Go Stillers!

Jeffrey Burton

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