The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 offseason practices concluded last week. Next up for the team is their annual training camp, which should get underway in the latter part of July. Ahead of training camp, we will preview the team’s 90-man roster three players at a time for you as part of a 30-post series. This Steelers 90-man roster preview that includes outlooks for each player goes alphabetically by last name to make it easy to follow along with.
The next three players we will preview today are Aviante Collins, Rashaad Coward, and Anthony Coyle.
G/T Aviante Collins — The Steelers signed Collins to their offseason roster way back in February. After going undrafted in the 2017, Collins, who played his college football at TCU, initially signed with the Minnesota Vikings as a free agent that May. He then made the team out of training camp and played in three games in a reserve role his rookie season. Collins missed all the 2018 season after sustaining an elbow injury in practice in early September that year and spent his second NFL season on the Vikings Reserve/Injured list. Just ahead of the 2019 season, Collins was waived by the Vikings and was quickly signed to their practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster in November and dressed for two games that season. Collins failed to make the Vikings 2020 roster out of training camp and spent most of the season on their practice squad. He was elevated for one game last season, however. At the 2017 NFL scouting combine, Collins measured in at 6041, 295-pounds with 33 3/8-inch arms and 9 3/8-inch hands. He ran his 40-yard dash in Indianapolis in 4.81-seconds and did 34 reps on the bench. It will be interesting to see if the Steelers view Collins more as a tackle or a guard due to him not being a prototypical tackle size.
Outlook: Collins reportedly lost a left guard battle with Dakota Dozier last season during his time with the Vikings in training camp. That’s another reason to think the Steelers might be looking at him as a guard. At the very least, Collins should have some position flexibility. The Steelers have depth issues along their offensive line heading into training camp but even so, it’s hard to carve out a spot for a versatile player such as Collins on the team’s 53-man roster. It would likely take several injuries on the offensive line for him to survive the final rounds of roster cuts. Collins, however, should have a legitimate shot at making the Steelers initial practice squad for the 2021 season if he stays healthy and has a good training camp and preseason.
G Rashaad Coward — The Steelers signed Coward to the roster back in March after the Chicago Bears chose not to restricted tender him. Coward, who started his NFL career with the Chicago Bears after going undrafted in 2017 out of Old Dominion, began his NFL career as a defensive end before being moved to the offensive line for the 2018 season. To date, Coward has started 15 career NFL games, all coming in the past two seasons with the Bears. Five of those came in 2020 between Weeks 6 and 10. Outside of those starts, Coward logged just seven offensive snaps the rest of the 2020 season. He played left guard and right tackle with the Bears in 2020 and a few snaps as an extra tight end. In 2019 with the Bears, Coward logged over 650 offensive snaps at right guard over the course of 11 games.
Outlook: According to a few reports, Coward was getting some work with the first-team offensive line at right guard during OTAs while then-starting right guard David DeCastro was absent with an ankle issue. That’s a great sign for him heading into training camp as it should increase his chances of maybe making the team’s 53-man roster as potentially the ninth and final offensive linemen, if that’s how many are ultimately kept this year. Coward should get a lot of playing time during the preseason and potentially at both guard spots to boot. At worst, Coward has a great shot at landing on the Steelers practice squad to start the regular season should he ultimately fail to make the 53-man roster.
T/G Anthony Coyle — Coyle, a former undrafted free agent out of Fordham, spent all the 2020 season on the Steelers practice squad. There were a few weeks where Coyle was elevated to the Steelers active/inactive roster during the 2020 season, but he never played ant snaps and quickly reverted back to the practice squad following games he was up for. Coyle has been around the NFL for a few years now as was originally an undrafted free agent of the Houston Texans in 2018. He’s been on the practice squads of the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons since then.
Outlook: Coyle is yet another one of those guard/tackle tweener players that the Steelers have on their offseason roster. He mostly played tackle in college at Fordham, however. Coyle being an elevation player several times last season can’t be discounted as it showed the team had some level of trust in him. Even so, Coyle now has a new batch of players to battle in training camp for a roster spot. It seems like Coyle may have gotten most of his work at guard during the offseason program, but it’s hard to know for sure if that was indeed the case. As training camp and the preseason gets underway, it will be interesting to see what position Coyle logs the most snaps at. While he’s unlikely to make the initial 53-man roster this year, he can’t be totally discounted as the team seems to like him. At worst, Coyle might stick around on the practice squad again to start the 2021 regular season.
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