The Pittsburgh Steelers held their first OTA practice of 2018 on Tuesday and after the session was over they announced the signing of tackle Chukwuma Okorafor, their second of two third-round draft picks this year.
We have signed our third-round pick, OL Chukwuma Okorafor.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 22, 2018
Okorafor, who was drafted 92nd overall by the Steelers this year out of Western Michigan, is now the the fifth of the seven total selections to sign his rookie contract. That four-year contract, according to Over the Cap, will total out at just over $3.272 million and include a signing bonus of just over $812,300.
“He’s played both” sides of the line, Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak said of Okorafor immediately after he was selected in the third-round. “He’s comfortable at left [tackle]. We’ll find out when he gets here but the goal would be that he could play both sides for us and then once you get him in you find out how quickly he’ll improve.”
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert also sang the praises of Okorafor not long after he was drafted.
“Chuks, he’s a rare, very, very talented tackle,” Colbert said during the Steelers draft recap press conference. “You know, Coach [Mike Tomlin] and I were just talking before, we’ve been seeing a lot of these kids really for the last two years. And Chuks was a kid last year when we went into Western Michigan to look at Corey Davis and [Taylor] Moton, their right tackle, Chuks kind of stood out on film. And we followed up and continued to scout him throughout this season.
“He’s got a very good upside, probably the most unique upside of this whole group, and he’s got left tackle abilities. I think we get him with a guy like coach [Mike] Munchak, you think about where Alejandro [Villanueva} was when he came in, a free agent practice squad tackle that turned into a Pro Bowler. You had Chris Hubbard, who came in as a free agent, work with Coach [Mike] Munchak and left this season and left as a priority free agent for another squad. So, real excited to see how much Chuks can improve under Coach Munchak’s tutelage.”
With the Steelers annual OTAs now underway, Okorafor finally gets a chance to be on the same practice field as the team’s other veteran offensive linemen. That experience should certainly help his development on many levels.
With Okorafor now under contract, safety Terrell Edmunds, the team’s first-round draft pick this year, and quarterback Mason Rudolph, the first of two third-round draft picks, are the only two selections that remain unsigned.