Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers marked the first time in franchise history in which the team not only culminated in every player dressing for at least one game, just eight games into their careers, but also the only game in the history of the organization in which an entire draft class dressed for the same game.
Granted, it’s much simpler to dress an entire class when you only draft six players (though college free agent James Pierre has also dressed for every game of the season), but nevertheless, it is an accomplishment, and actually one that would not have been possible under previous rules, as sixth-round pick Antoine Brooks is on the practice squad, and dressed under the new elevation rules that were put in place in 2020.
Brooks was also dressed via elevation last week, but the game against the Dallas Cowboys marked the first official game logged in the career of defensive lineman Carlos Davis, the seventh-round draft pick out of Nebraska, who had been a healthy scratch in the first seven games.
The rookie dressed because the Steelers are down two defensive lineman. A week prior to last, Chris Wormley suffered an injury deemed serious enough to put him on the injured reserve list. Tyson Alualu also suffered a knee injury early last week that kept him out of the evening game in Texas.
I’m not certain exactly when he played his first snap, but Davis did definitely get on the field on the Steelers’ opening defensive drive of the second half. As the Cowboys drove down the field, following an explosive run from Tony Pollard, he showed good hustle on a pass to tight end Blake Bell, making the tackle for a four-yard loss that stalled the drive and forced them to settle for a field goal.
Not only was this the first game in which the Steelers dressed an entire rookie class, they also all played in the game. Brooks did play on the kick coverage unit, while Kevin Dotson sees time on the field goal unit. Chase Claypool and Anthony McFarland both logged time on offense, while Alex Highsmith and Davis logged time on defense.
Of course, unless Brooks is promoted to the 53-man roster at some point this season, this will be the only game in 2020 in which it will be possible for all six rookies to dress, because he has now used up his elevation opportunities.
Still, even if it proves to be a one-time thing, it’s still pretty cool, and something that, to the best of my knowledge, has never happened in team history. And of course, as mentioned, with Pierre, they actually had seven rookies dress and play in the game.