NFL Draft

O-Line Versatility Making Chris Owens’ NFL Dreams Happen

Steelers undrafted free agent guard Chris Owens aspires to be an NFL general manager after his playing career concludes, he told Nick Kelly of the Tuscaloosa News. Owens spent six years at Alabama, moving all around the offensive line, although he projects as an interior offensive lineman at the NFL level. While at Alabama, he was a semi-finalist for the 2021 William V. Campbell trophy-also known as the academic Heisman-along with fellow UDFA offensive lineman Jake Dixon, among others.

Owens got his love of team-building from the Madden NFL video game series (because, honestly, who didn’t). “There would be years where I wouldn’t even play the season,” Owens said. “I would just simulate to the offseason and worry about rebuilding the team, and when I finally built a Super Bowl team, I played in the Super Bowl.”

Owens obsession with football developed at an early age, as he would fall asleep reading playbooks and consume college football all day on Saturdays and the NFL every Sunday. He would also go to YouTube to watch tape and highlights of players. His positional versatility came from studying NFL rosters and moving around along the offensive line in high school.

“I realized that in order for me to get to where I want to be, being versatile will probably be the most marketable thing for myself and will be the best thing for the team,” Owens said.

Owens started 20 career games in his career at Alabama, with twelve of them being at right tackle during the 2021 season, where he played in the College Football Playoff. He had 19 knockdown blocks during his senior season. He also has experience playing center, as he filled in for an injured Landon Dickerson in the SEC Championship and played that role through the College Football Playoff, blocking for current Steelers RB Najee Harris. As a recruit, Owens was a consensus four-star prospect and ranked as the No. 10 guard in his class.

While Owens’ versatility certainly helps him when it comes to making an NFL roster, the Steelers have a lot of interior offensive depth right now. With James Daniels, Mason Cole, Kevin Dotson, and Kendrick Green all but assured roster spots, that doesn’t leave much room for somebody to earn a spot. When you consider Pittsburgh also has J.C. Hassenauer fighting for a spot, along with John Leglue who earned starts at guard last year, it doesn’t seem like an easy path for a UDFA to make the roster. However, Owens’ background means he certainly knows what he’s going to have to do to showcase himself and try to earn a spot on the roster or the practice squad. Pittsburgh clearly saw something in him, and it will be fun to watch him compete with the veterans around him to try to crack the opening 53-man roster.

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