With the 2021 NFL Draft in the books, we’re turning our attention to the eight undrafted free agents signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers. These will be scouting reports on the players signed we didn’t have any pre-draft profiles on.
#1 Calvin Bundage/LB Oklahoma State — 6016, 221 lbs.
- Experience inside and on the edge
- Solid acceleration as a pass rusher
- Good motor to get after the quarterback and chase all over the field
- Solid mental processing against the run
- Gets downhill quickly to fill gaps and take on blockers
- Aggressive mentality and plays hard
- Takes false steps as a pass rusher
- He has a short stride limiting the stress he can put on the tackle
- Marginal play strength; not an effective power rusher
- Spent too much time on the ground rushing the passer
- Struggles getting off block and tackles too high
- Lacks COD, lateral quickness and speed to be effective in coverage
- Career — 149 tackles, 99 solo, 23 TFL, 12 sacks, 2 PBU
- 2020 — 20 tackles, 12 solo, 8.5 TFL, 7.5 sacks, 1 PBU
- 40 games, 21 starts
- 2020 First Team Academic All-Big 12
- Missed 2019 with bulging disc in his back
- Brother, Cayman, played football at Arizona
- Majoring in university studies/education major
Six of the eight free agents added after the draft was on the defensive side of the ball. Calvin Bundage is and undersized linebacker with experience playing off the ball and on the edge. In 2018 he played inside linebacker in their defense and was out the entire 2019 season with a back injury. In 2020, he was used primarily as a pass rusher.
Against the pass, he moves at a frenetic pace with feet moving very quickly, and solid acceleration. He has solid hand usage with his chops and swipes and has a good motor to get after the QB. His primary rushes included a rip, spin to the inside and a club/swim, he has solid lateral agility to jump to the inside, and will get his hands up when the pass rush isn’t getting home. Bundage was also used as a rover in the middle of the field and would blitz from there. He has some experience in coverage on Zone drops in the middle and playing Man coverage on RBs out of the backfield. He will give a solid jam when playing over the tight end.
At Oklahoma, Bundage (1) starts outside and then uses a club to the inside to move the tackle and get some pressure.
Against West Virginia, he is lined up on the right side he will use a rip to try to get around the tackle unsuccessfully, but gets the sack when the QB tries to scramble.
Against Texas, despite his first step being backward, he is able to stab and rip around the left tackle and help chase the QB out of the pocket.
Playing Miami, from the right side he cuts off his pass rush to chase the RB out of the backfield, and his hustle saves a TD.
Against the run, he has solid mental processing and good short area quickness to get downhill quickly. He is willing to fill gaps and take on pulling blockers. Bundage has solid use of hands on blocks in front of him and shows good flow from the backside. He is an aggressive defender, shows good pursuit all over the field, and can chop down runners when he stays low.
Against Kansas State as the middle linebacker, he is able to read and find the gap and knife downhill to cut down the runner.
Also vs. Kansas State, from the overhang position, he will attack the block of the tight end, knocking him back, clogging the running lane, and making the tackle.
When rushing the passer, he takes false steps. When lined up on the right side, his first step was backwards. On the left side, the first step was usually laterally to the inside. This severely hampered his upfield burst at the snap. Bundage is a short strider, limiting the pressure he puts on the tackle on the outside. He has marginal play strength, is ineffective as a power rusher, and is marginal getting off of block. He balance is marginal and he ended up on the ground too often.
Bundage looked tight in his Zone coverage drops, has adequate change of direction in space and must give the receiver plenty of space to not get beat deep. He doesn’t have the speed to stay with RBs on runs to the outside. Tackles very high most of the time around the head/shoulder area and lacks pop in his pads.
At Kansas State, he is the inside linebacker in coverage and the running back will lose him on this route, when he is slow to react.
Against West Virginia rushing from the right side, the tackle is able to square him up and he has no chance to get off the block.
Playing Miami, lined on the right, he reads the play well but lacks the acceleration and speed to chase down the runner to the outside.
Overall, Bundage has a good motor with some positional flexibility, has solid acceleration and a solid pass rush plan to get after the quarterback and is solid processing plays. He is a solid tacker when he stays low, will pursue all over the field and is aggressive taking on blocks. Areas to improve include eliminating the false steps as a pass rusher, adding play strength and improving his tackling technique.
He will be limited by his speed, change of direction, and play strength playing inside. I like the aggressiveness in Bundage’s game, and if he can get his false steps fixed he may be able to help as a pass rusher. He has a chance to be a candidate for the practice squad, and with his motor and attacking style could make him a fit on special teams. With improvement, Bundage could be a situational pass rusher.
Games Watched: 2018 — at Kansas State, vs. Oklahoma; 2020 — vs. West Virginia, vs. Texas, vs. Miami