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 Shakur Brown, Isaiah Buggs, and Calvin Bundage.
CB Shakur Brown — Brown, who played his college football at Michigan State, was one of the Steelers signed undrafted free agents this year. The underclassman was given a large signing bonus of $25,000 as well, which is worth noting. In 2020, Brown had five interceptions in just seven games, leading the nation in interceptions per game. In the 26 career games he played in at Michigan State, Brown registered 54 tackles, two tackles for a loss, two sacks, 16 pass defenses and one touchdown. He is a position versatile cornerback with some nice upside as he enters the NFL. It was a bit of a surprise to many that Brown went undrafted this year, but a poor pro day performance may have played a role in that happening.
Outlook: The fact that Brown was a priority undrafted free agent for the Steelers means a lot. The Steelers need to develop some depth at the cornerback position and especially when it comes to the nickel position, which Brown seems to be best suited to play at the NFL level. Brown’s odds of making the Steelers 53-man roster this year seem to be very favorable and especially if he can improve his tackling a little and show something on special teams. If Brown does survive the final roster cuts this summer, it’s hard to imagine him playing much on defense as a rookie barring a few injuries on the team’s cornerback depth chart happening. At worst, Brown would likely be a prime candidate to start the 2021 regular season on the Steelers practice squad should he ultimately not make the 53-man roster out of training camp and the preseason. It would be a bit of a disappointment, however, if he doesn’t survive the final round of roster cuts in early September with him being a priority undrafted free agent this year.
DE Isaiah Buggs — Buggs, who was selected by the Steelers in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Alabama, was inactive for six regular season games last season and for five of the team’s last seven contests. He was inactive for the Steelers lone playoff game as well. He played all of 131 defensive snaps in his second NFL season and finished the year with just 11 total tackles and a quarterback hit. As the 2020 season progressed, Buggs seemed to fall out of favor and behind then-rookie defensive tackle Carlos Davis on the team’s depth chart. The Steelers have quite a few backup defensive linemen battling for roster spots this summer and that list of players includes the likes of Davis, Chris Wormley, Henry Mondeaux, Abdullah Anderson, and rookie Isaiahh Loudermilk, the team’s fifth round draft pick this year, just to name a few.
Outlook: As the Steelers inch closer to the start of their 2021 training camp, Buggs certainly seems to be on the outside looking in when it comes to his chances of making the team’s 53-man roster this season. The Steelers usually like to keep six defensive linemen in total on their 53-man roster at the start of the regular season and barring injuries, three of those spots are already spoken for in the form of Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt and Tyson Alualu. Davis and Wormley seem to both be destined to make the 53-man roster in 2021 as well and it’s hard to imagine Loudermilk not sticking. In short, Buggs days in Pittsburgh seem to be numbered right now. There is a chance that Buggs winds up on the Steelers practice squad if he doesn’t survive the team’s final rounds of roster cuts in early September, however.
OLB Calvin Bundage — Bundage, one of the undrafted free agents that the Steelers signed this year, played in 10 games his senior season at Oklahoma State where he notched 20 tackles, 8.5 of which were for loss, 7.5 sacks, and one pass defensed. In his four years at Oklahoma State, he appeared in 40 games with 149 tackles with 23 being for loss, 12.0 sacks, and two passes defensed. He missed the entire 2019 season due to a back injury. Bundage is and undersized linebacker with experience playing off the ball and on the edge. In 2018 he mostly played inside linebacker in the Oklahoma State defense and was out the entire 2019 season with a back injury. In 2020, he was used primarily as a pass rusher.
Outlook: It will be interesting see how and where Bundage fits into the Steelers defense positionally. Odds are probably good that they will use him as an edge rusher as opposed to as an off-the-ball inside linebacker. Regardless of what position Bundage does play as the summer progresses, he will have an extremely tough time making the Steelers 53-man roster this summer and it seems like a near impossible task. Bundage ultimately making the Steelers initial practice squad after training camp and the preseason concludes seems like his best shot when it comes to sticking in Pittsburgh after the final rounds of roster cuts are made in early September.
Previous Posts In Series
90 In 30: Steelers 2021 Training Camp Preview Series: DeMarkus Acy, Marcus Allen, Tyson Alualu
90 In 30: Steelers 2021 Training Camp Preview Series: Abdullah Anderson, Kalen Ballage, Zach Banner
90 In 30: Steelers 2021 Training Camp Preview Series: Jordan Berry, Chris Boswell, Antoine Brooks Jr.