As we’ve done in previous years, we’re taking a look at those Pittsburgh Steelers under futures contracts for the 2022 offseason. The ones who spent most if not the entire year on the practice squad, and what we can expect from them during training camp (hopefully) into the regular season.
Daniel Archibong/DL Temple – 6’6″, 307 lbs.
Archibong certainly wasn’t on my Bingo card of players who would see action along the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense in 2021. His involvement, though brief, along the defensive line sums up how ravaged the group was by injuries and absences a year ago. No Tyson Alualu. No Stephon Tuitt. Effectively, no Carlos Davis among other injuries and COVID illnesses along the way.
Initially, Archibong was a footnote for the Steelers’ practice squad, signed September 1st alongside the likes of Karl Joseph, who drew a much bigger headline. Archibong went undrafted in 2021 but signed with the Chicago Bears, spending the summer with them before being waived at the end of training camp.
Here is how NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein described his game coming out of Temple.
“Low-cut three-technique with muscular frame and good lean mass. He gets off the ball with good hand quickness into the blocker and plays from a point of leverage but often fails to diagnose the play. A lot of his energy is spent on dealing with the blocker in front of him, so he’s not much of a playmaker. His rush is spearheaded by his upfield charge and he occasionally moves a guard around with a bull rush, but he’s not a very dynamic athlete as a pass rusher, limiting his potential at the next level.”
Pittsburgh carried him on their practice squad for the better part of two months before being elevated in late November. He went on to appear in two games, logging a total of 13 snaps in games against the Chargers and Bengals. With a defensive unit that looked something out of a preseason game, names like Henry Mondeaux, Delontae Scott, and Archibong on the field, Pittsburgh’s defense crumbled. Though an obviously limited sample size, when Archibong was on the field, opposing offenses averaged a whopping eight yards per carry.
Overall, Archibong showed effort and chase to the ball, something you’d expect out of a rookie seeing his first NFL action. He officially recorded two tackles, both against LA, and can say he’s in an NFL box score. But overall, he looked painfully out of place.
He wasn’t needed the rest of the season and was signed to a futures contract shortly after the Steelers’ season ended post-Wild Card weekend. And to be fair to him, he was an undrafted rookie in a difficult spot. With Alualu returning and perhaps Tuitt joining him, Archibong shouldn’t come anywhere near the 53-man roster this season. He’ll look to hold onto a practice squad role, but he should have tough competition, and his spot is far from guaranteed. Really, he’s outside-looking-in to even accomplish that.