As we’ve done in previous years, we’re taking a look at those Pittsburgh Steelers under futures contracts for the 2020 offseason. We’ll focus this on the future players who spent no or limited time on the team during 2019. Taken a bit of a break but following up with a new futures report today.
Tyree Kinnel/S Michigan – 5’11 207
“You just get that feeling as you’re walking into Schembechler Hall, you’re in a college football setting…”
That was Mike Tomlin’s quip in a fun back-and-forth with Rich Eisen after the Steelers drafted two Michigan Men in the 2019 draft – Devin Bush 10th overall followed by Zach Gentry in the 5th round.
It was a joke but if Tomlin could create his own universe, make his own rules, he’d have a 53 man roster of Maize and Blue.
Tyree Kinnel is one of many former Wolverines on the roster (now the fifth, if your’e scoring from home), recently signed after the XFL’s pause and decision to allow its players to join the NFL. So far, Pittsburgh has signed five of them, most in the league, but Kinnel might be the most interesting name. Flashy? No, he’s not. He’s your typical thumper, much more Marcus Allen or Jordan Dangerfield than Minkah Fitzpatrick. Limited ball skills but a fearless attitude all backup safeties need to have. He’s not completely without athleticism, turning in a 4.51 at 34.5 inch vertical at his Pro Day last season. But in four years in college, he picked off just two passes and on tape, profiles as a box player much more than someone capable of winning in space.
He’ll have a great opportunity to shine in Pittsburgh. If there’s any position lacking depth, it’s safety, and I’m betting that partly influenced his decision to sign with the Steelers. His path remains similar to the other offseason hopefuls. Play mistake free, thump on special teams, make a splash play or two to capture some attention of coaches and media.
Provided he can do that, there’s a better-than-normal opportunity for him to crack the roster. I still expect the team to draft a safety, it’ll be a crime if they don’t, so his competition will stiffen by month’s end, but I’ve liked his game and the Steelers like their Michigan Men.
We’ll see how he looks in camp.