The Pittsburgh Steelers made a surprising set of roster moves on Monday as wide receiver Tevin Jones was waived, and wide receiver Amara Darboh was signed to the 53-man roster from the practice squad to replace him. On Tuesday, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked what he’s seen so far out of Darboh since he’s been on the practice squad to warrant him getting signed to the 53-man roster on Monday.
“You know, he’s working hard out here, but not much more than that,” Tomlin said of Darboh, a former third-round draft pick out of Michigan. “Even the nature in which we work, getting in full pads and things of that nature, but he’s been a good, attentive young man. So, we’ll see if he’s capable of putting his hand in a pile and helping us in some way.”
In the Steelers Sunday home loss to the Buffalo Bills, Jones, who has been on the 53-man roster since being promoted from the team’s practice squad in Week 11, had two key drops with one coming late in the contest. On Tuesday, Tomlin was asked if Jones’ drops against the Bills mainly contributed in the decision to move on from him and on to Darboh.
“No, it was more about the potential upside in Darboh,” Tomlin said.
As a rookie in 2017, Darboh appeared in all 16 games for the Seattle Seahawks, the team that originally drafted him, and caught eight passes for 71 yards receiving and no touchdowns. However, the Seahawks ultimately waived him after the 2018 preseason. The New England Patriots claimed Darboh off waivers from the Seahawks but he reverted back to Seattle because of a failed physical designation. Darboh ultimately landed on the Seahawks Reserve/Injured list to close out 2018.
After being waived again by the Seahawks after the 2019 preseason, Darboh landed on the practice squad of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a few weeks later. The Buccaneers promoted Darboh to the their active 53-man roster in October before waiving him a month later. The Steelers then signed Darboh to their practice squad in Week 12.
Jones, who has been with the Steelers for the last few seasons, and mainly on the team’s practice squad, appeared in five games for the Steelers this season and caught four passes for 61 yards. It will now be interesting to see if Darboh can do better than that in the final two games of the regular season. We’ll also wait and see if Jones ultimately finds his way back to the Steelers practice squad in the next few days or weeks.
While Tomlin tried to downplay Darboh’s sudden promotion to the 53-man roster on Monday, it’s possible that move was made abruptly due to another team possibly wanting to sign the young wide receiver off the Steelers practice squad.
Darboh’s most recent team, the Buccaneers, are now without their two top wide receivers, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, due to injuries, so it’s possible that Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians was interested in bringing back Darboh this week.
Regardless of how things transpired this past week that ultimately led to Darboh being on the Steelers 53-man roster, he’s likely to remain on it a while barring any sort of injury. If and when the Steelers get wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster back from his knee injury, Darboh might find himself on the inactive list.
If, however, Smith-Schuster doesn’t play Sunday against the New York Jets, Darboh might see a little bit of playing time in the Week 16 Sunday afternoon road game.