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: Phazahn Odom
Stock Value: Up
I think that some with raise their eyebrows over the notion that rookie undrafted free agent tight end Phazahn Odom has boosted his stock value over the course of the offseason, but I do think it applies. I don’t think that it will continue to rise, however, which is the problem.
Odom was an invitee to the Steelers’ rookie minicamp and got signed as a result of that. That was already one step in overcoming potentially long odds. The fact that the Steelers also released Ladarius Green is also of benefit to the rookie regardless of whether or not he is able to make the 53-man roster—a prospect for which I would not place high odds.
But I do think that he has done about as much as he can in his favor at this point. He has done well in what he has been asked to do, showing himself to be the receiving threat from the tight end position that the Steelers were looking for from him, albeit against reserves rather than starters.
It is the other part of the equation that will be his issue, and that is the hurdle that is quickly approaching. Odom is a receiving threat, but he plays a position that places a great emphasis on another aspect of the game, particularly in Pittsburgh, which is blocking.
He has already talked about the fact that the Steelers’ coaching staff has spoken to him about learning to block and how he understands that it is something that he will need to work on. Frankly, I think this is where things will go south for him, once we get to training camp and the pads come on.
Odom does not have the frame, in my opinion, to develop into a sufficient blocker, so if the Steelers are going to keep him, it is going to have to be as a receiving prospect. This is something that they could choose to attempt to develop on the practice squad rather than on the 53-man roster, but he will have competition for that spot with Scott Orndoff.