There are not a lot of meaningful conclusions that you can reach about a player after the end of his first season, but that certainly doesn’t stop people from talking about it. You can find just about any variety of analysis that you would care to read if you just look for it, complete with bold letter grades.
I’m not going to do that. But I am going to talk about the Pittsburgh Steelers’s 2015 NFL Draft class, both collectively, in this article, as was as individually, in succeeding articles.
While the tides have slowly turned in Pittsburgh regarding rookie players being held back in terms of playing time in recent years, the 2015 class outside of their first-round pick did not get a lot of burn during the year, but that shouldn’t be terribly surprising in hindsight.
The Steelers entered the draft process this year with eight draft picks, including the seven natural draft picks in each round, in addition to a compensatory draft pick in the sixth round, in addition to some notable undrafted free agent acquisitions.
Player: Kevin Whimpey
Draft Status: Undrafted
Kevin Whimpey is the last of the rookie class that we will be taking a look at as we wrap up our review of the team’s collective gathering of draft picks and post-draft rookie free agents. While there were several others signed initially after the draft, Whimpey, a tackle, represents the last of the significant competitors.
Part of what makes him interesting is that, even with Mike Adams spending the entirety of training camp on the PUP list, he didn’t even manage to survive the first round of roster cuts, falling all the way down to third-team as a tackle.
Coming out of Utah State, Whimpey came into the league already set to turn 25 in July because he spent part of his time in college doing missionary work as part of his faith. But he, as well as he brother, was regarded as a quality experienced offensive lineman for the Aggies, and he actually drew a bit of attention within the undrafted free agent pool.
Despite coming in at around 300 pounds, Whimpey has a reputation for being rather strong, much in contrast to what his surname might suggest, managing 39 reps on the bench press at his Pro Day, for instance. But as we saw, that didn’t necessarily translate onto the field.
Whimpey was decidedly locked into the third-team line for most of the preseason and in training camp with Alejandro Villanueva cementing his place with the second-team line and Kelvin Palmer and Mitchell Van Dyk ping ponging for the other tackle spot along that line, even though Palmer was signed immediately prior to the start of training camp.
Whimpey saw just 10 snaps in the preseason opener and was never able to get back onto the field after that, all but sealing his fate by that point. With three tackles already ahead of him, he was not able to make up enough ground in such a short amount of time.
But it does go beyond that. Being part of the first wave of cuts, the Steelers were evidently satisfied with the look they got from him and determined that it wasn’t enough. He didn’t sniff the practice squad—they ended up signing a tackle from outside of the 90-man roster—and hasn’t heard from an NFL team since.