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.
I don’t think it was much of a surprise that Pittsburgh tight end Scott Orndoff immediately drew some attention when the Steelers signed him as an undrafted free agent. Obviously as a local talent, he already had a leg up in terms of fan support, but Orndoff also had the makings of a classic tight end look.
Still, there was a reason that he went undrafted. But he wasn’t waived for those reasons. He was waived because he was injured, and the Steelers need bodies at tight end. They gave his roster spot, and his jersey number, instead to tight end Jake McGee.
McGee has only been on the roster for about a week or so, so he hasn’t gotten the opportunity to make much of an impact either way yet, but I don’t see any compelling reasons to believe he isn’t as compelling a tight end prospect.
A fellow rookie undrafted free agent, he ultimately declared for the draft as a sixth-year senior that involved a redshirt year and a transfer that landed him in Florida. In his final season, he caught 41 passes for 381 yards and four touchdowns.
At his pro day, he posted a sub-4-8 40-yard dash with a 4.6-second short shuttle and a 7.26-second three-cone time. Compared to Combine results, those numbers would have ranked seventh, fifth, and outside of the 10 top, respectively, among tight ends.
While he has not been a high-volume receiver, scouts of complimented his hands and his concentration, while his route-running needs work. It should be no surprise that he could use work as a blocker as well, which is normal for today’s college tight ends.
But like Orndoff, he has the frame to grow into the role. At 6’5” and 252 pounds, he certainly looks the part of a traditional Steelers tight end. McGee may not have attracted a lot of attention, but I will be interested in seeing him during the preseason, and I think he should contend for a spot on the practice squad.