The Pittsburgh Steelers are again bolstering their offseason roster, signing four players to futures deals today: cornerbacks CB Montell Garner and Al-hajj Shabazz and wide receivers Issac Blakeney and Tobais Palmer. The move was first tweeted out by Chris Bradford of The Beaver County Times.
#Steelers sign WR Issac Blakeney, CB Montell Garner, WR Tobais Palmer and CB Al-hajj Shabazz to reserve/futures contracts.
— Chris Bradford (@PghBradford) February 4, 2016
Garner spent two years starting at South Alabama after transferring in from a JUCO. In 2014, his senior year, he picked off two passes and forced two fumbles. At 5’11/5 188 pounds, he turned in a 4.61 at his Pro Day with a 33 inch vert.
Shabazz is a relatively local kid out of D-II West Chester, located near Philadelphia. I happened to be at his Pro Day at Villanova last year and blurbed this.
“I didn’t watch much of him but was initially impressed by West Chester cornerback Al-Hajj Shabazz. Getting some buzz in media circles. Extremely explosive out of his pedal and looks the part. Came in at 6’1 and an even 200 pounds, according to his agent. Did have two drops but it’s a minor quibble.”
He picked off eight passes over his final two years at West Chester with a 4.63 40 and 35 inch vertical and 10’5″ broad.
Palmer is a player the Steelers saw in the preseason. He caught a 37 yard touchdown pass against them in 2015. A thin, speedy receiver from NC State, the 178 pound receiver ran a 4.39 at his Pro Day. Slightly older, graduating in 2012, he averaged 14.5 yards per catch his senior year and found the end zone six times. He’s also spent time with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Blakeney, a UDFA this year from Duke, is the total opposite. Tall and predictably slower, he weighed in at 6’4/3 223 pounds at his Pro Day with an impressive 36.5 inch vertical. He played everywhere early in his career at Duke, from defensive end to safety and tight end before finding a home at reciever, where he caught 47 passes and seven touchdowns in 2014. He was also a member of their track and field team in the 4×100 relay. His size will certainly draw a buzz during the offseason.