We are now at a point during the offseason in which we find ourselves looking at training camp just around the corner for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the rest of the league, and a lot has changed for them over the course of the past several months. They have lost a number of players in free agency, through releases, and retirements. But they have also brought in a number of new faces to replace them.
We all know that roster turnover is an ever-present reality for today’s rosters, and it seems that over the course of the past half-decade or so even the Steelers have proven to be as susceptible to the annual shakeup as anybody. With that in mind, we should take the time to get to know some of the new faces with training camp soon to be here.
While we have so far been able to cover the Steelers’ 2017 NFL Draft picks, as well as their free agency signings—which evidently no longer includes safety Daimion Stafford—we have not given proper introductions yet to the team’s many undrafted rookie free agents, many of whom stand poised to make a run at the very least at a spot on the practice squad with an opportunity to develop in the future.
I would think that the most high-profile name on this list would probably be tight end Scott Orndoff, the Pittsburgh product who joins third-round pick James Conner, undrafted free agent Terrish Webb, and rookie minicamp tryout signing Matt Galambos as a quartet of Panthers on their 90-man roster. The last time that I mentioned the Pittsburgh presence on the roster, I omitted Webb, so I wanted to amend that.
Aside from Conner, for obvious reasons, however, Orndoff stands to have the best chance to make something of his opportunity with the Steelers, even if his path to the 53-man roster during his rookie season does not seem to be the most realistic goal.
The 23-year-old is however an intriguing prospect that can be developed into a traditional tight end who can both execute a wide variety of blocking assignments as well as offer the sort of safety valve receiving option that once defined the position before it became more oriented toward a wide receiver role.
At 6’4”, 253 pounds, he has pretty much prototypical size for the position, and he comes to the NFL more developed than Jesse James was two years ago—although part of James’ draw was the very fact that he had more developing to do, coming out as a true junior.
Behind James is also Xavier Grimble entering his second season and veteran David Johnson, with fullback Roosevelt Nix also factoring into roster considerations, so it will be difficult for Orndoff to make this 53-man roster, but with a year of seasoning on the practice squad, who knows what might happen. Grimble made the jump from squad to Sundays himself.