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: Keith Kelsey
Stock Value: Even
We touched on one rookie free agent inside linebacker yesterday in Matt Galambos, the Pittsburgh product who was signed after a successful tryout during rookie minicamp. Given that, I figured it would be appropriate to dabble into a discussion about the Steelers’ other rookie undrafted free agent inside linebacker, Keith Kelsey out of Louisville, who has some football bloodlines, as his father was a starter for the Gators in the 90s.
Keith Kelsey, Sr., however, never managed to carve out a path to the NFL for himself, at least not one that resulted in a stable spot on a 53-man roster, so his son is hoping to change his family’s fortunes in that regard. But he knows that doing so will be no easy task, considering his starting point relative to his destination.
Like Galambos, Kelsey is not particularly fast or athletic, although he did post 23 reps in the bench press at the Combine. Frankly, in many ways, both of these young linebackers bear a lot of resemblances to Tyler Matakevich, last year’s seventh-round draft pick, though without quite the same level of instincts.
Both of them are actually slower and arguably less athletic, however, which does not work in their favor. And I have already read reports that Matakevich has struggled to stay with players in coverage drills during the spring, pounding the grass in frustration. Before anybody asks, it was behind a paywall courtesy of Steel City Insider.
While Matakevich may have an edge on Kelsey, and Galambos as well, however, that does not necessarily mean that a roster spot cannot be available, as I would not say that L.J. Fort and Steven Johnson are roster locks by any means.
As is always the case at the bottom of the roster for such positions, it will ultimately come down to special teams, and while Johnson had success there last year, Fort seemed to be average at best despite logging a lot of snaps there.
It’s possible that the Steelers could choose to carry only four inside linebackers on the 53-man roster this year as well due to depth at other positions. In such an event, that could give an edge to either Kelsey or Galambos to stick on the practice squad as a fifth.