Even if you haven’t been able to attend a 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers training camp practice to date, it’s not hard to figure out that second-year outside linebacker Olasunkanmi Adeniyi has been impressive through the team’s first four practices, two of which were padded ones. While Adeniyi appears to have been impressing the media and bloggers who have been able to attend training camp practices so far this summer, it’s more important to know that the Steelers coaches have been impressed with last year’s undrafted free agent out of Toledo as well.
After the Steelers Sunday padded practice, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin admitted that Adeniyi has flashed some so far at the start of training camp. And on Monday, Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler also weighed in positively on Adeniyi during his interview on Steelers Nation Radio.
“I think his knowledge of what we’re trying to do has helped him, and particularly in practice,” Butler said of Adeniyi. “I like him. I think he’s going to help us in terms of backups. We got I think three good outside linebackers. Having four and being shored up in those four will certainly help us.”
While Adeniyi has seemingly impressed all of the Steelers coaches so far during the team’s 2019 training camp, Butler made it point to say Monday during his interview that the young outside linebacker needs to show during the rest of the summer that he can help the team in another phase of the game other than defense.
“What’s going to happen for really guys who are backup players on defense, they’ve gotta be real good special teams guys,” Butler said. “And Mike [Tomlin] always puts special teams before backups in terms of who you keep and stuff like that. So it’s going to be vital for him [Adeniyi] that he plays well in the preseason when we ask him to do things on special teams because I like him as an outside linebacker.”
Last year during the preseason, Adeniyi played nearly 50 special teams snaps but really didn’t look all that great and productive in that phase of the game. Defensively, however, it was a much different story as Adeniyi registered 9 total tackles of which 3 were sacks. He also forced 2 fumbles.
“I think he’s a good player and he’s getting better,” Butler said of Adeniyi.
Currently running ahead of Adeniyi on the Steelers outside linebacker depth chart is Anthony Chickillo and he’s certainly the better special teams player of the two entering this year’s training camp. Because of that, Chickillo is almost guaranteed to make the Steelers 53-man roster this year as a No. 3 or No. 4 outside linebacker. Even so, it’s hard to envision Adeniyi not making the final cut as well and especially if he plays as well on the defensive side of the football as he did a year ago. As for rookie outside linebacker Sutton Smith, the only way he’ll make the Steelers initial 53-man roster this year is if he shines on special teams during the preseason.
With all of the buzz about Adeniyi to so far this summer, you can bet this site will be focusing on his defensive play during the preseason. We’ll also make sure to let everyone know if he’s impressing in the special teams phase as well. He’s going to be a fun player to watch.