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Quick Hits: A Breakdown Of The New Practice Squad Additions

The Pittsburgh Steelers are moving players again this morning, releasing WR Jarrod West, TE Harold Spears, RB Dominique Brown, and G Antonio Johnson to make room for TE Xavier Grimble, OT Matt Feiler, RB Fitzgerald Toussiant, and WR Isaiah Burse. A quick look at the new additions, with more to come later.

Grimble is a USC product with size at 6’4, 260 pounds, but minimal athleticism. He went undrafted in 2014 and has bounced around the New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, and New England Patriots. His 26.5 inch vertical jump at the combine is one of the worst marks I’ve ever seen for a tight end.

He did improve on that score by four inches during his pro day performance, where he also ran a 4.90 and did 16 reps on the bench. He’s a long strider who can eat up cushions once he gets going, but don’t look for much suddenness in his game. Not a strong blocker due to poor form and a lack of functional strength. Strong hands in the passing game. Also some injury history here. I had a priority UDFA grade on him coming out.

Fun fact, Cleveland Browns outside linebacker and former first round pick Barkevious Mingo is his cousin.

Feiler is a guy I’m not as familiar with, but he did receive a combine invite out of DII Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania. Went to Lampeter-Strasburg high school out near Lancaster, PA, so obviously an in-state kid the team has likely had an eye on for awhile. Played both left guard and left tackle in college, and has a hulking frame at 6’7, 330 pounds. I don’t get into testing numbers too much for offensive linemen, but Feiler had 36 bench reps at the combine, tied for second amongst his position group that year. Big weight room guy with a strong off-field work ethic. Got a draftable grade from many draft gurus I trust, albeit a late round one with more of projection to guard then tackle.

Toussiant is a running back that I had a draftable grade on in 2014 as well, after he spent last season in and on-again, off-again relationship with the Baltimore Ravens. Appeared in four games as an UDFA from Michigan, rushing for 12 yards on six carries and catching three passes for 27 yards. Runs with some physicality at times, but is more of a zone-scheme guy. Measured at just 5’8, 204 pounds on his pro day, but did run a 4.53 40-yard dash and jumped 35.5 inches on his vertical. 6.59 three-cone time wasn’t shabby either.

Received a DUI in 2012 while at Michigan, after he ran a red light while under the influence. Was suspended from the team until after the first game of the season. Toussiant broke his leg later that year, but did return for his senior year. He had more minor shoulder and knee injuries in college as well.

It isn’t out of the question to believe that Toussiant could see playing time with Le’Veon Bell suspended, as he and Jordan Todman look to be the top depth behind DeAngelo Williams at the moment (sorry Dri Archer). Nice pickup by the Steelers, as he and Todman represent some of the best of what is out there.

Burse is another guy I didn’t watch a ton of, but Alex Kozora has said he liked him coming out of Fresno State in 2014. Diminutive receiver at 5’10, 188 pounds, but quick feet and excellent lateral agility were Burse’s calling cards. Combine numbers are impressive with a 3.94 short shuttle, a 6.74 three-cone drill, and a 4.58 40-yard dash. Spent some time on the Denver Broncos practice squad last year, handling punt return duties in 12 games, finishing with 29 returns for 211 yards (7.3 avg). Was an excellent return man in college, taking two punts back for touchdowns and averaging 22.9 yards per kick return.

The moves bring the Steelers practice squad to the following names outside of these four: C/G Resse Dismukes, OLB Shayon Green, ILB L.J. Fort, S Jordan Dangerfield, WR Shakim Phillips, DE Ethan Hemer. More moves could be coming soon, as we await word whether Anthony Chickillo and/or Doran Grant have cleared waivers or not. Should know by noon today.

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