As we’ve done in previous offseasons, we’re taking a look at those Pittsburgh Steelers under futures contracts for the 2019 offseason. We’ll focus this on the players who weren’t on the team’s practice squad last year, the mostly unknown players that fans don’t know much about.
Jack Tocho/DB NC State – 5’11/7 202
With the disappointing end to the AAF, teams around the league have scooped up those who played the best. Maybe no one has been as active as the Steelers, inking three players already while having several others in for tryouts.
Two of them have been a logical conclusion, members of the Birmingham Iron, who were affiliated with Pittsburgh. One of them is Tocho, whose gotten a brief look at the NFL and with his first playing time professionally, hopefully will have better luck this time around.
A do-it-all player in high school, as most of these profiles are, the Wolfpack recruited him to play cornerback. He started almost immediately, inserted into the lineup for their final seven games of his 2013 freshman season and never looking back. He picked off six career passes and as that steady force in the secondary, named team captain for his senior campaign in 2016.
Experience and production earned him an invite to the Combine where he tested admirably. 4.54 40, 35 inch vert, 10’4″ broad, 21 reps on the bar in a 6’0, 201 pound package. But tightness in his hips and lacking dominant straight line speed caused him to tumble to the back of the 7th round. With nine picks remaining in 2017, the Minnesota Vikings took a flier on him. You can hear a brief discussion of his game from the NFL Network B team, one analyst correctly assuming a switch to safety.
He made it through his first training camp as a pro but had the abrupt awakening of being released outright at final cutdowns. Perhaps Minnesota gave him the heads up to stay in shape because they brought him back three weeks later and bounced him on and off the practice squad the remainder of the season.
Signed September 20th, released November 1st, signed back November 14th, released December 12th, signed a final time three days later. The life of a late round rookie. It seemed like Minnesota only signed him back when they knew he had a chance to go elsewhere. Carolina worked him out on September 19th; Minnesota signs him the next day. And lo and behold, the Steelers worked him out prior to November 14th; he’s back in Minny right after.
There for the end of the 2017, he signed a futures deal with the team after the season and again carried through. He picked off his first pass in the preseason, jumping in front of this route late against the Denver Broncos. A nice read and finish, as shown by the replay from the game.
Again, Minnesota carried him on their practice squad to begin the year but released him – for good – on September 19th. He latched onto Washington’s squad late in the year before signing with Birmingham once the now defunct league started up.
For the Iron, he recorded 19 total tackles and this interception.
— Steelers Depot (@Steelersdepot) April 5, 2019
He’ll add some depth at safety, one of the thinner positions on the roster entering the draft. That’s good and bad news. Good because it helps him in the numbers game. Bad because it means the Steelers are likely to add there in the draft, shrinking those chances of sticking.
But by all accounts, he’s got a good head on his shoulders, a high work ethic, and with the AAF, extra experience. He might not make the roster but isn’t someone I expect to embarrass himself in camp or games.