Part of OTAs have focused on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ biggest names. The return of Martavis Bryant, the absence of Le’Veon Bell, and an eager rookie class. But it’s also a time for the little known players to stand side-by-side with those names and begin their journey to trying to make the roster. Tight end Phazahn Odom epitomizes those longer shots with intrigue. Chris Bradford of the Beaver County Times caught up with Odom and has a great feature piece on his short stint with the Steelers.
Odom, at 6’8, is predictably working on his blocking and leverage. Check out Bradford’s article, it’s really good, and the headlining picture tells you all you need to know. That’s Odom going through drills against the 6’5 Scott Orndoff, who looks like a kindergartner comparatively.
— Chris Mueller (@bychrismueller) May 25, 2017
6’8 is great as a red zone threat. As a blocker? Not so much and Odom knows it.
“But then the run game, I can’t be 6-8,” he told Bradford. “I have to force myself to stay low.”
Odom impressed enough to be one of two signed as tryout players out of rookie minicamp. With his size and good enough athleticism, it’s no surprise he impressed in shorts and shells. Training camp will certainly be a different story when the pads come on for the first time, the true test of Odom’s ability. He’ll have to take plenty of reps as a blocker, where he admits he’s raw in.
“Back at Fordham, I didn’t really in-line block as much. Here, the tight ends are forced to block. I’m adjusting to that.”
As we pointed out in our scouting report shortly after he signed, he spent most of his time in a two point stance or standing up as a receiver. It’s another of the big transitions he’ll have to make in order to compliment his skills as a receiver.
Odom will fight Orndoff for a practice squad spot and if there’s an injury, or Odom looks really good, could challenge Xavier Grimble for the #3 spot on the 53 man roster. But that’s a long ways away. So for now, Odom will focus on getting and staying low.