The calendar has now flipped over to July and that means the Pittsburgh Steelers annual training camp will be getting underway in Latrobe later this month. As usual, we have several series planned to get you ready for this year’s training camp and mine will center around preview profiles of 50 players over the course of the next 25 days. Most of these profiles will be on players who were under contract with the team in 2016.
Up thirty-seventh in this series is a 2017 preview profile of tight end Fitzgerald Toussaint.
Intro: Toussaint made the Steelers 53-man roster last year out of training camp as the teams third running back and opened the regular season as the team’s backup due to the suspension of starter Le’Veon Bell. The former undrafted free agent out of Michigan went on to play just less than 50 regular season snaps on offense and carried the football just 14 times for 58 yards with a long run of 16. He also caught three passes for another 33 yards with a long gain of 15. He also played considerably on special teams in 2016 and that included him returning 13 kickoffs for 278 yards with a long of 33. He had three total special teams tackles to boot.
Current Strengths: Toussaint’s biggest strength might actually be his pass protection as he’s shown numerous times he’s capable of eating up grass and taking on rushers. He’s fairly sound when it comes to knowing who to get and which angle to take. Has shown ability to make first tackler miss either in the backfield on between the tackle runs or out in space as a pass catcher. Can find small creases and get positive yardage between guards. Rarely driven back at point of contact and usually falls forward.
Current Weaknesses: Not an overly patient runner and especially on runs to the outside. Doesn’t necessarily set up second level defenders well in the backfield. No real second gear and just an average kickoff return option and special teams player. No real unique qualities as a running back. Needs to fight for more yards down sidelines after long gains instead of running out of bounds both as a running back and kick returner.
2017 Outlook: With rookie running back James Conner now in the fold via the draft and the addition of veteran running back Knile Davis via free agency, Toussaint will certainly have his hands full when it comes to making the 53-man roster a second consecutive year. Davis, however, is not unbeatable and especially if he doesn’t show much as a kick returner. In all honesty, Toussaint is the better running back of the two. Should Toussaint ultimately make this year’s 53-man roster, he could wind up seeing a handful of carries early in the season as the primary backup to Bell. At some point, however, he would likely get overtaken by Conner. Toussaint really needs to make a bigger splash on special teams during the preseason if wants a shot at a roster spot.
2017 Base Salary: $690,000
2017 Salary Cap Charge: $690,000
2017 Health Status: No known ailments exiting offseason program
2016 Health Status: Zero games missed last season due to injury
2016 Regular Season Snaps Played: 46 of 1,083
2016 Stat That Matters: Averaged 11.0 yards per reception on three catches