The 2021 NFL Draft is drawing near, which is as fitting a time as any to take a look back at the rookie season of the Pittsburgh Steelers class from the 2020 NFL Draft. While draft analysis begins as soon as the pick is in, we now have a year’s worth of data on these players to gain more compelling insight.
Over the course of the next several days, I will be providing an evaluation of each rookie that the Steelers drafted, while also noting any undrafted free agents that were able to stick around. This will not include the likes of J.C. Hassenauer and Henry Mondeaux, because while the 2020 season was their first to accrue, they were not true rookies, but rather first-year players.
The Steelers went into the 2020 NFL Draft with just six selections, including no first-round pick after dealing it to the Dolphins in 2019 for Minkah Fitzpatrick. They received a third-round compensatory pick for the loss of Le’Veon Bell. Their natural third-round pick was traded away the year before to move up for Devin Bush.
They swapped fifth and sixth-round picks with Miami for fourth and seventh-round picks, while they sent their previous fifth-round pick to the Seahawks for Nick Vannett. Their other fifth-round pick, which they dealt to Miami, came from the Jaguars in exchange for Joshua Dobbs.
Continuing a recent trend, the class has proven to be top-heavy in terms of early results, though there are still opportunities for those selected in the later rounds of the draft to develop into bigger contributors, as well.
Player: Spencer Nigh
Draft Status: Undrafted
Starts: 0 (0 starts)
It made people raise their eyebrows a bit when the Steelers used one of their 10 slots for undrafted free agents — actually six, as they had to release four players just to fit them all — on a fullback when they had just signed Derek Watt in free agency to the second-largest contract for a fullback in the league, behind the guy in San Francisco with all the consonants in his last name. And I saw that as a fellow white guy of eastern European descent, as evidenced by my last name. But I digress.
Regardless, they did it, and it’s no surprise that in training camp there was talk of him potentially moving to linebacker — a reverse Roosevelt Nix, if you will. That never really panned out, and Pittsburgh ultimately waived him on August 13, as it removed running back Jaylen Samuels from the Reserve/COVID-19 List.
As best I can tell, Nigh never landed elsewhere after the Steelers cut ties with him, except on his Twitter account, where he… well, shared some interesting views on current events. The Auburn product sure would have been a load plowing through a hole, though, if we had gotten to see him in the preseason. He tipped the scales at 267 pounds at 6’0”. That’s more than 30 pounds heavier than the two-inches-taller Nix. Spencer Nigh the Thunder Thighs.