Despite the N.F.L. Draft being over, teams are continuing to add to their rosters over the coming days by signing undrafted players to their rosters. Pittsburgh has done a fine job in this department over the years as guys like Donnie Shell, Randy Grossman, Willie Parker, Isaac Redman, James Harrison, etc. all began their successful careers as UDFA’s with the franchise. Yesterday, a list was posted on the Steelers’ team site of the undrafted players which the Front Office has inked to contracts since the Draft ended. So with the UDFA period already in full swing, I figured that I would share the list with you the readers, give a short write-up on each prospect, and finally discuss their chances of making the team:
Brandon Lindsey OLB (Pittsburgh)
Local college Defensive End (6’2” and 254 lbs.) who should transition to Outside Linebacker. Lindsey can hopefully contribute on Special Teams at the beginning of his career, and in time push Jason Worilds and Chris Carter for playing time as a backup. Could be a steal because Lindsey had a Day 3 draftable grade on him, and the Steelers can always use depth behind Harrison and Woodley. Keith Butler can develop Linebackers, and it would be nice to see a former Panther succeed with the Steelers.
Adrian Robinson OLB (Temple)
Likely will be in the same boat as Brandon Lindsey and will vie for playing time at Outside Linebacker after contributing on Special Teams for a season or two. At 6’1” 250 lbs., Robinson will have to make the transition from 4-3 Defensive End after starting 38 games at the position in college. Robinson earned 2011 1st-Team All-MAC honors and could be a nice addition to the roster if he is stashed on the practice squad for this season.
Terry Carter CB (Louisiana Tech)
Former track athlete at Louisiana Tech, Carter will look to find a backup role on the Steelers or at least a spot on the Practice Squad. At 5’10” 184 lbs., the 2011 1st Team All-WAC performer has decent size for the position, and will need to prove he can support in the run game like the other Steelers Corners as well Carter will have to battle Robert Golden and Terrence Frederick for likely the final roster spot at Cornerback in camp. Otherwise he will be on the practice squad.
Robert Golden CB/S (Arizona)
Golden has a decent shot of making the team due to his versatility as a Defensive Back and the thin depth at the Safety position. A three year stater at Arizona, Golden (5’11” 202 lbs.) played both Corner and Safety, and possesses decent size to play either position. Should compete with Terrence Frederick and Terry Carter for a backup job at Cornerback, and with Ryan Mundy the only backup Safety with any experience, Golden should get a look there as well. Should be a Practice Squad guy with a good showing, and an outside chance to make the 53-man roster.
Ikponmwosa Igbinosun DE (Southern Connecticut State)
Igbinosun is a 5-Technique Defensive End who should compete for time in the rotation as a backup behind Keisel, Hood, and Heyward. He’s a raw prospect for Defensive Line Coach John Mitchell to work with, and should at least find self on Practice Squad if he flashes something in camp. At 6’4” and 288 lbs., Igbinosun has the perfect body type to play the 5-Technique and a year or two of developing his game with Mitchell could make him a solid addition to the rotation in time.
Jake Stoller DE (Yale)
Will have an uphill battle to make team, and main competition will be with Igbinosun for final backup spot in 5-Technique rotation. At 6’3” 284 lbs., Stoller was a 2nd Team All-Ivy League selection last season and a two year starter. Stoller’s best chance of contributing will likely be on Special Teams, as it could be his only chance to make the Practice Squad.
Drew Butler P (Georgia)
Excellent chance of earning a roster spot with Daniel Sepulveda gone, and Jeremy Kapinos providing his only competition. Butler, a three year starter with a big leg, was a 2nd Team All-American in his Junior season, and averaged 45.2 Yards per Punt during his career. Butler was also named to Georgia’s “Team of the Decade” as a collegiate player as well. Of all the Free Agents brought in, Butler has the best chance to make the team.
Grant Ressel K (Missouri)
Ressel should compete with Shaun Suisham and possibly another candidate (Swayze Waters) for the starting job in camp. Ressel was an All-American in 2009, but has been dealing with some confidence issues. Ressel had only missed 3 of 46 kicks in the two seasons prior to 2011 until he lost his job after going 7 for 13 to start the year. Hopefully Ressel’s confidence can come back, because some competition must come in for Suisham.
Ryan Lee OG (Furman)
Ryan Lee will face stiff competition from the three Linemen the Steelers drafted, fellow Free Agent signee Desmond Stapleton, and entrenched backups Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster. At 6’3” and 308 lbs., Lee will try to find a spot at the crowded Guard position, but will likely not be making the final roster or even the Practice Squad.
Desmond Stapleton OG (Rutgers)
If you recognize the last name it’s because he is indeed related to former Steelers’ Guard Darnell Stapleton (brother) and consequently he plays the same position (Guard). At 6’5” 301 lbs., Stapleton will likely be coming in to compete for a job at Guard. It will not be easy though, because with the amount of depth Pittsburgh has at the position now, Stapleton will have a tough time making the Practice Squad.
Marquis Maze WR (Alabama)
Maze will have an uphill climb to make the roster as he will have to beat out Wallace, Brown, Sanders, Cotchery, and newcomers Toney Clemons and Connor Dixon for a spot. Furthermore, Maze will face competition on Special Teams and in the return game from RB Chris Rainey as well. The tiny Maze (5’7” 186 lbs.) could be sent to Practice Squad and developed for a year until Wallace leaves, but he still will have to make heads turn in camp to stay around.
Connor Dixon WR (Duquesne)
A former Quarterback, Dixon, like Maze, enters a crowded WR group and would likely have to show his worth on Special Teams before getting any real time as a pass catcher. At 6’5” and 222 lbs. he towers over the rest of Pittsburgh’s Wide Receivers, which could give him an advantage. However, he has only played the position for two and a half years, and will face some stiff competition to make the roster, although he could make the practice squad.