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. Pittsburgh traded away its natural third-round pick 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: Cody White
Position: Wide Receiver
Draft Status: Undrafted
Starts: 0 (0 starts)
A Michigan State alumnus, Cody White was originally signed as a college free agent by the Kansas City Chiefs. But the Chiefs waived him in the middle of training camp on August 16. The Denver Broncos signed him a week later, but he did not make the practice squad. The Steelers signed him to their practice squad on September 24.
He remained on the practice squad throughout the remainder of the 2020 season, afterward Pittsburgh signing him to a Reserve/Future contract. In other words, he remains with the team at this point, one of nine wide receivers currently on the roster, two of whom Pittsburgh signed recently from Pro Days.
White was one of three wide receivers who finished the season on the practice squad, the others being Anthony Johnson, who was also re-signed, and Deon Cain, who was not, and is currently on the Baltimore Ravens.
At 6’3” and 217 pounds, White obviously intrigues from a physical standpoint. During three seasons with the Spartans, he recorded 143 receptions for 1,967 yards and 12 touchdowns. He declared for the draft a year ago as a junior with a year of eligibility left.