Yesterday, I talked about the fact that rookie college free agent James Pierre was able to successfully make the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 53-man roster as the sixth defensive back, a remarkable accomplishment under the conditions in place this offseason. It’s also noteworthy that it was a move that got the team to keep 11 defensive backs in total, which is typically more than they should keep.
Just because Carlos Davis was a draft pick, however, doesn’t mean that his ability to make the 53-man roster isn’t also notable. For one thing, his was a position in which it already seemed as though the roster was already set. The team’s decision to release Daniel McCullers was a surprise, even if it was certainly influenced by the fact that they were able to re-sign him to the practice squad under the new rules.
The development and progress of all rookies was pretty clandestine this year. We did hear quite positive things about the likes of Chase Claypool and Alex Highsmith. Kevin Dotson and, prior to his injury, Anthony McFarland were mentioned as well.
We heard very little about Antoine Brooks directly, and virtually nothing about Davis, the team’s seventh-round pick in April. But we did hear defensive coordinator Keith Butler talk about some young defensive linemen who were catching his eye.
Ever since he made that comment, I was curious. It suggested that there was a chance a ‘surprise’ player might make the 53-man roster, and in turn, a surprise player may not. As it turned out, Carlos Davis was the primary young defensive lineman to which Butler was referring, since he made it onto the 53-man roster.
On cutdown day, when Henry Mondeaux was announced as having been released, it was characterized as a close decision, that he was a fringe candidate. The first-year player spent all of last season on the team’s practice squad.
I suggested that these might be the two players who were making some noise, but I can’t take much credit for getting that right, as they were the two most likely options. I’m just glad to see that the Steelers saw things in these two players that they liked enough to choose to keep around.
Right after he was drafted, most, including myself, assumed that Davis was ticketed for the practice squad this year. most—again, including myself—were wrong, and whoever that person was who was telling me he was going to make it can feel free to chime in below to gloat.
It’s interesting, though. Essentially, the Steelers have a veteran who is new to the position as the primary nose tackle in Tyson Alualu, and his backup is a rookie who has never touched an opponent yet. At least I’m assuming that Davis will serve as the backup, unless they started to give Isaiah Buggs work there in order to help him get a helmet on Sundays.