The Pittsburgh Steelers may not have gotten around to addressing every position on the roster that was deemed by one person or another as a need, but they did manage to at least add a player or two here and there within their undrafted free agent pool that could potentially address depth issues.
Some of them were even deemed draftable, such as Pittsburgh tight end Scott Orndoff. The Steelers were reportedly interested in obtaining a tight end during the draft, but the value was never right for them in the right round to pull the trigger on an available name, so Orndoff as a free agent was probably a reason able consolation prize.
Even though he has spent the past several years playing in Heinz Field and practicing on the adjacent fields, however, the rookie is finding it quite a leap working with the Steelers’ coaching staff during rookie minicamp as opposed to the level of intensity he was accustomed to with the Panthers.
“It’s been a grind, mentally and physically”, Orndoff said over the weekend. “They put a lot on your plate early. We’re out here twice a day, like rapid fire, and you’ve just got to kind of stick with it, keep your head in the playbook, and take care of your body, but it’s been good, it’s definitely been a grind so far”.
It almost sounds as though he is overwhelmed, but in fairness, he was just hit with an interview coming off the practice field dripping in sweat. There is no denying, however, the level of intensity off the field that separates college from the pros.
He described practices during minicamp as “a lot more intense” than what he was used to in college, but added that “you kind of get used to it” the more you do it, comparing the first day of practices to the second.
It helps to be playing in a place that he already calls home, though. “It’s huge”, he said of the opportunity to play for the Steelers. “I couldn’t ask for anything more. I’m thankful to be here. The draft process was what it was, but I’m really thankful to be here and have a chance to make the team for my home town, and stay close to home and play for a world-class organization”.
But he knows the opportunity that has currently presented itself is limited. The Steelers have four tight ends on the roster last year and they are all back this year, so he will have to displace somebody even if they continue to carry four, which is no guarantee.
“I know what the situation is in the tight end room right now from last year, but I just think I’ve got to take care of what I can control and try to show them that I’m worthy of being on the team, being on the main roster, and just care of what I need to take care of and try to be the best I can be”.