With the 2017 NFL Draft now over and the bulk of the heavy lifting done with regard to the roster building process now out of the way, it is easier to begin to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand at certain positions, and what the implications might be of a variety of moves for certain players.
And take stock is what we shall do, as every move has ramifications up and down the roster, so now we will take a look at some specific players and see how the team’s moves during the course of the offseason thus far, and more specifically since the draft, have sent their stock rising, falling, or breaking even.
Player: Francis Kallon
Stock Value: Even
The Steelers did not manage to bring in the most interesting of names following the draft among their undrafted free agent class, but they did get some players with some potential, and one of them that we really have not discussed at all is Francis Kallon, a defensive end who admittedly would have an exceedingly difficult time making the 53-man roster.
Already he comes into a group that has seven different players who have been on a 53-man roster, and that includes recent free agent signing Tyson Alualu, a former first-round draft pick. The Steelers generally only keep six defensive linemen, so the math is looking pretty terrible for him, if we’re being honest.
But that doesn’t mean that he is not an interesting prospect that has the potential for a future. And when we are talking about Kallon, we really are talking about potential, because he doesn’t actually have all that much of a football background.
The son of immigrants from Sierra Leone, Kallon grew up in England, only moving to the United States during the middle of his high school tenure. He had the football coach request that he try out simply due to his sheer athletic ability and size, even though he knew little of the game.
He liked it enough, and was successful enough at it, to get a number of scholarship offers, some from some very significant schools, despite having very little experience. He ultimately chose to go to Georgia Tech, but played very little there, overall. Even in his later seasons, his playing time was hindered by a strong rotation.
The enthusiasm over Kallon—such that there is—surrounds the fact that he has an NFL frame at 6’5”, 295 pounds, but he really, quite simply, needs to learn the game. He seems to me to be a player who can show just enough to encourage the team to try to develop him on the practice squad, so the next month will be huge for him.
And in case you’re wondering, yes, the Steelers are willing to carry two defensive ends on the practice squad. They did that just last year with Johnny Maxey and Caushaud Lyons. The year before, while they had Lyons on the 53-man roster as a seventh lineman, they were still carrying Ethan Hemer on the practice squad as an eigth.