You may recall for the past several offseasons that I ran an article series called The Optimist’s/Pessimist’s Take. I used it to explore different issues and topics the Pittsburgh Steelers were facing and took a positive or negative approach, examining each side in a separate article. This is essentially the same idea behind that, only condensed into one article for every topic.
In this version of the idea, I’ll be playing the Devil’s Advocate for both sides of the issue, looking at the best-case and worst-case scenarios in trying to find the range of likely outcomes of what is likely to happen for the Steelers relating to whatever topic the article is covering.
When it comes to the process of trying to construct a championship roster, the reality is that there are a ton of moving parts, and several ways to acquire said parts. There are a lot of things that can go right or wrong in not always predictable ways, so I think it’s helpful to try to look at issues by seeking out the boundaries of the likely positive or negative results.
Topic: Which tight end is more likely to stick on the roster or practice squad: Scott Orndoff or Phazahn Odom?
Even though the question might not have immediate implications for the Steelers during the 2017 NFL season, it seems pretty reasonable that one of either Scott Orndoff or Phazahn Odom, a pair of rookie undrafted free agent tight ends, is going to stick on the practice squad for this season.
I’m finding it unlikely that the Steelers would carry four tight ends on the roster again this year given the available pool of talent and the surpluses at better-stocked and more significant positions. I’m also finding it even more unlikely that either Orndoff or Odom would be ready to unseat one of the three top tight ends on the depth chart.
But in a year’s time, who knows. And the fact that Orndoff and Odom between them offer such an interesting variety is something to consider. Orndoff is far more in the conventional mold that the Steelers identify with, a blocker-first sort, while Odom is more in the vein of the pass-catcher that they dabbled in with Ladarius Green.
In Odom’s favor is that very fact that they used tried to explore that avenue, and it only failed due to injury, not because of the on-field product. They are on record in stating that they were very happy with Green’s on-field work. And they also don’t have that sort of player currently on the roster among their other tight ends.
But, as might seem to be the case in other areas, the pass-catching tight end may be a specimen that only intrigues them on the high end, and Odom would have a long way to go to reach that level. Orndoff offers a more comfortable, more familiar, and more NFL-ready option. He is already a solid blocker with upside as a receiver, much like Jesse James, who now tops the depth chart.
Which side do you lean closer toward?