When the Pittsburgh Steelers reported to Latrobe for training camp in July, wide receiver Cobi Hamilton wasn’t even with the team. Due to injuries, however, Hamilton, who was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the sixth-round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Arkansas, was signed to the team’s 90-man roster in early August and he’s stuck around ever since.
While Hamilton failed to make the Steelers initial 53-man roster out of training camp, he showed enough during the preseason to warrant him being signed to the team’s 10-man practice squad at the start of the regular season. Due to injuries suffered by fellow Steelers wide receivers Sammie Coates, Markus Wheaton and Eli Rogers, Hamilton was promoted from the practice squad to the team’s 53-man roster on Oct. 15 and has been a weekly active player on gamedays.
Over the course of the last week, Wheaton has re-injured his shoulder and fellow wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey suffered a foot injury in the team’s Week 9 loss last Sunday to the Baltimore Ravens. With both of those players now sidelined for an unknown amount of time, Hamilton’s spot on the Steelers 53-man roster appears to be safe for the next several weeks, if not the remainder of the season.
In the three games that Hamilton has played in so far since being promoted from the practice squad, he’s been on the field for 79 offensive snaps and has caught 5 passes for 72 yards and a touchdown. With Heyward-Bey now sidelined, Hamilton might start seeing more playing time in two wide receiver personnel packages starting Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.
It will also be interesting to see if Hamilton starts seeing snaps on the kickoff coverage team starting Sunday with Heyward-Bey ruled out for the game. Entering the contest against the Cowboys, Hamilton has yet to play a snap on special teams for the Steelers and thus it hurts his overall value to the team.
One would think that Hamilton might be targeted a few times by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday as well and if so, it would be nice to see him step up and deliver a few more key receptions.
Hamilton now has 8 regular season games left to show that he belongs on an NFL roster past this season. While his opportunity to contribute this season is a result of other players’ misfortunes, Hamilton has to take advantage of it now as it could be his last chance. He is currently scheduled to be an exclusive rights free agent at the end of the season and thus has a good shot at being back at Latrobe next July with a healthy and productive second half.