Every Pittsburgh Steelers fan can name the starting five offensive linemen, even in a drunken Yinzer stupor after a win (or a loss…or a Friday). But the second team is much less recognizable, naturally, and especially so after Chris Hubbard got paid in Cleveland and Jerald Hawkins went down for the season. One name you’re likely to see running second-team this year is UDFA R.J. Prince, who told The Stanly News Press he spent most of the spring with the second-stringers.
Prince made the 90 man roster as a tryout player, overcoming long odds. Perhaps spending the week before in the Green Bay Packers’ minicamp gave him an edge, some semblance of what to expect. He also said the Packers were impressed with what he did in their mini-camp but simply didn’t have the roster spots to sign him. A harsh reality of the NFL, battling the numbers game along with the rest of the roster.
Fortunately, the Steelers scooped him up and now Prince is in the same room as elite players like Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro all while getting coached up by a Hall of Famer in Mike Munchak.
“It’s about making a statement at each and every practice, every series,” Prince told the paper.
In our profile of Prince after he was signed, we noted his strong lower half and ability to anchor, though some of the things he was taught at North Carolina are different than what Munchak teaches, like how to pull.
Clearly though, the Steelers saw something in Prince and Munchak has been able to identify and develop diamonds-in-the-rough before. There’s a linemen on the roster every rookie can relate to, whether it’s a high draft pick (Pouncey, DeCastro) or a UDFA (Villanueva, Foster).
Even though he’s still dealing with long odds, Prince is soaking up the moment.
“It feels good to know you have the ability to (play in the NFL). It’s been my dream to be out there since I was a little kid. I won’t stop trying to get better each and every day…it’s a cool situation.”
And hopefully earns himself some more recognition with a successful preseason. Even from his hometown. If you click the link, the paper used the wrong photo in their headline, grabbing a snapshot of DE Kendal Vickers, who shares the same #64 but for the defensive side of the football.