Even though he had only been with the Pittsburgh Steelers for less than week, wide receiver Cobi Hamilton still wound up playing 25 offensive snaps in the team’s preseason opener last weekend against the Detroit Lions. The Arkansas product proceeded to take full advantage of his late playing time late against the Lions and ended the game with 2 catches for 22 yards. He would have had a third reception for another 13 yards late in the game had it not been wiped out by a holding penalty.
Hamilton, who entered the league in 2013 as a sixth-round draft pick with the Cincinnati Bengals, was a consensus All-SEC first-team selection and a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award (nation’s top receiver) during his final year at Arkansas. He wound up setting the school’s single-season record with 90 receptions in 2012 in addition to reordering 1,335 receiving yards. In five games that year he registered 10 or more receptions.
Ahead of the 2013 NFL Draft, many had Hamilton pegged as a player who might ultimately be selected somewhere in Day Two, however, due to some drop issues that he had in college and combined with the fact he doesn’t have elite speed, he wound up being drafted by the Bengals on Day Three.
After spending his entire rookie season on the Bengals practice squad, Hamilton’s second season including him spending time on not only the Bengals practice squad, but the Philadelphia Eagles 10-man unit as well. He ultimately landed with the Miami Dolphins last year during training camp but was ultimately waived by them just prior to the start of the regular season. After being unemployed for the rest of 2015, Hamilton signed a futures contract with the Carolina Panthers this past January and remained with him until he was waived by them in late July.
Now that he has one preseason game and several more practices under his belt with the Steelers, Hamilton figures to get quite a bit of playing time Thursday night in the team’s game against the Eagles. If he is able to build on last week’s positive showing, the 6-2, 201-pound Hamilton could potentially wind up being a legitimate practice squad candidate for the upcoming season.
Last week against the Lions, Hamilton only played two special team snaps and that’s not overly surprising being as he was still relatively new to the team. It will be interesting to see if special teams coordinator Danny Smith gives the young wide receiver a chance to contribute more in that phase of the game Thursday night against the Eagles as either a return man or a coverage player.
Keep a close lookout for Hamilton in this second Steelers preseason game as he could wind up being a rare late training camp roster addition who ultimately sticks around in Pittsburgh after the final round of cuts are made. This figures to be a huge game for him as it relates to his future NFL career.