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-eighth in this series is a 2017 preview profile of defensive end Johnny Maxey.
Intro: After opening the 2016 regular season on the Steelers practice squad, Maxey, an undrafted free agent, ultimately found himself on the team’s 53-man roster later in the season due to injuries. In total, the Mars Hill College product dressed for two regular season games and one playoff contest. He registered just one total tackle in just over 50 defensive snaps played to close out the 2016 regular season.
Current Strengths: Maxey certainly doesn’t have a lot of meaningful NFL tape to look at. He did, however, show a nice swim move in limited action last year during the regular season on his lone tackle. Decent pocket container and appears to possess some nice athleticism for a player of his size.
Current Weaknesses: Very raw player who needs to get stronger first and foremost. His hand fighting and leverage needs a lot of improvement. Struggles too often at point of attack and that includes leg power. Not much of a pass rusher.
2017 Outlook: While Maxey ended the 2016 season on the Steelers 53-man roster, there’s no guarantee he’ll be on it to open the 2017 regular season. For starters, the team will have veteran starter Cameron Heyward back healthy again. Additionally, the team signed veteran defensive lineman Tyson Alualu during free agency. Add in other starters Stephon Tuitt and Javon Hargrave and quite possibly backup L.T. Walton and that potentially leaves one of what figures to be six total defensive linemen spots up for grabs. Daniel McCullers could be No. 6 if he has a good camp and preseason and if that happens, Maxey might find himself on the Steelers practice squad again. He might have to beat out Walton during training camp in order to make the 53-man roster.
2017 Base Salary: $465,000
2017 Salary Cap Charge: $465,000
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: 51 of 1,046
2016 Stat That Matters: Lone tackle resulted in lost yardage