A 2022 UDFA scouting report on USC CB Chris Steele, signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers after the draft.
#8 Chris Steele, CB, USC (Jr.) – 6003, 187 lbs.
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Chris Steele||6003/187||8 3/4″||31 1/8″||75 1/8″|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
*Pro Day testing
— Taller frame with room to add weight and muscle
— Comfortable in man coverage with a initial turn in press
— Shows speed to run in off-man coverage and compete downfield
— Willing tackler who doesn’t shy away from contact
— Impressive speed and explosion testing (40 and vert/broad)
— Experience at both outside CB spots
— Lacks length for his height and frame and looks skinny without a lot of muscle
— Struggles at catch point and to finish plays, can get grabby at top of route and lead to penalties
— Needs to show more patience with receiver’s release and will guess, leading him to start opening up his hips early
— Doesn’t show enough suddenness or explosiveness to stay with in-breaking routes
— Bottom-tier agility testing (short shuttle/three cone were historically bad)
— Didn’t make many impact plays and often picked on by QBs
— Few INTs weren’t quality (sans one great play against Notre Dame)
— Isn’t a physical presence as a tackler, more of a drag-down type
— Gets stuck on blocks in the run game
— Needs to show standout trait
— Primarily used as boundary corner, will have to adjust to playing in space more in NFL with their narrower hashes
— Limited to no slot experience
— Scant overall production and didn’t look great in games where his stats appeared padded
— 2 1/2 year starter for Trojans (23 total)
— Career: 94 tackles (3 TFL) 12 PDs, 3 INTs
— 2021: 33 tackles (2 TFL) 2 sacks, 1 sack
— Left school after junior year there
— Five-star recruit out of HS, initially committed to USC over Alabama, Clemson, and USC among others (whopping 51 offers)
— Transferred to USC in 2019 and granted eligibility waiver that allowed him to play right away
— Reportedly left Florida after school wasn’t willing to change his roommate situation; roomed with QB Jalon Jones, who was accused of sexual assault
— Speaks Spanish
Chris Steele was one of the bigger-name UDFAs signed by the team immediately following the conclusion of the 2022 NFL Draft. A top recruit out of high school, he has a similar career arc as fellow Trojans’ cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart. Like ITS, Steele came out a year early.
He profiles as a good athlete and looks comfortable in man-coverage. He made one highlight reel INT against Notre Dame here, a one-handed snag on this throw a little out in front.
Steele is also a willing tackler, though he isn’t a hard hitter. But he gets the job done, so long as he doesn’t have to work off blocks in the process.
On the negatives, Steele was picked on quite a bit in school. Last year, the whole USC defense was. They ranked 89th in pass defense out of 130 teams and 103rd in points per game. He struggled at the catch point and was prone to penalties. His stiffness displayed in horrible agility drills, a 4.54 and 7.31 short shuttle are linemen times, causes him to struggle to turn around downfield at the breakpoint or on in-breaking routes.
Even the games where on paper, he looked good, weren’t all that impressive. A ten tackle, two pass deflection in 2020 against UCLA didn’t leave me coming away impressed either. He has some speed but doesn’t have great bulk, length, or ball skills. I’m not sure why he came out early (everyone has their reasons but it didn’t feel like the right move) and I’m definitely a lot lower on Steele than I thought I’d be knowing the little bit about him before I turned on the tape. He does profile as a height/speed corner and Pittsburgh wants to collect competent man-corners, perhaps playing even more man under new DC Teryl Austin, but I don’t think Steele’s chances of being a diamond in the rough are terribly high. Still, he’s on the team and has a shot so we’ll see what happens. But watching the tape makes me understand why he was an UDFA.