There are plenty of players who can get after the quarterback. There’s a lot fewer who can drop into coverage. To find someone who can do both? That’s someone you hang onto. Consider that the mission of rookie Ola Adeniyi, who has proven the former and working on the latter.
If he does, the Pittsburgh Steelers might just have to keep him.
Adeniyi said he’s working on getting comfortable with moving backwards during his first year in the NFL.
“Coming from Toledo, all I did really was pass rush” he told reporters via the team site. “I didn’t drop into coverage too much. I feel like I’ve kinda grasped the concept. Playing Cover 2, Cover 3, things like that.”
Through three preseason games, he’s dropped 12 times. If I had to guess, that’s more than he ever did at Toledo, as he admits, because he was such an effective pass rusher. That ability has certainly translated to the NFL, racking up two sacks and six pressures already. Now, it’s about working on the rest. Adeniyi credits OLB coach Joey Porter for making the transition a smooth one.
“It’s very beneficial. When you have a coach that’s been through the process that you’re going through. Knows everything, it’s very beneficial.”
He also thanks his more veteran teammates for offering feedback.
“Having my teammates. T.J, him being on the sideline, seeing what I can do, and helping me out here.”
Adeniyi is making an 11th hour push to make the 53 man roster. His spot isn’t secured, another strong performance against Carolina Thursday would go a long way, but he’s clearly turned heads and opened eyes. One aspect that’s been a little quieter is special teams work. That’s how most players in his situation, on the roster bubble, get over the hump. Impressing there could cement his roster spot.