Heading into final roster cuts, one glaring need, or wish, by Steeler fans of the front office was to acquire some sort of outside linebacker depth, because other than the DPOY T.J. Watt and promising third-year player Alex Highsmith, the cupboard was bare. Newly-minted GM Omar Khan pulled off a promising trade however, gaining Malik Reed of the Broncos. A tad undersized at 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds, the former undrafted player by way of Nevada in 2019 made his presence felt for Denver the past two seasons, racking up 13 sacks and three forced fumbles, one of which was stripped from newly-retired Ben Roethlisberger last season.
Now donning the black and gold for nothing more than a sixth-round pick in 2023, Reed is looking to get acclimated rather quickly, as we’re less than a week and a half away from the opener. On a defense featuring several All-Pros, and arguably the best pass rusher in the league, this is a tremendous asset to have. However, Reed pointed out he’s looking to be a sponge and learn under the tutelage of senior defensive assistant Brian Flores, who’s well known league-wide for his successful blitz packages while the DC in New England and most recently, as head coach of the Dolphins.
“Coach Flores, he has a great reputation in the league and I know he’s a great defensive mind and I’m just ready to get in there and soak up all I can,” Reed said via the Steelers’ official YouTube channel. “Some of the things that they do on defense, the terminology is different, but the techniques are the same from where I came from. I pride myself on being kind of smart, being able to pick up on things quick, so yeah, I’m about to go, you know, meet with the coaches right now and get on top of it.”
As undrafted players go, Pittsburgh is no stranger to success at the position, as James Harrison currently (but not for long) sits atop the team’s career sacks list. After being famously cut by several teams, including the Steelers, he finally stuck and got a chance to shine in place of Joey Porter in 2007, and the rest was history. Now, I’m not connecting the dots between the two players, Reed is not Harrison by any means. I’m simply stating these fringe-of-the-roster players tend to latch on whenever preparation meets opportunity, and Reed echoed these sentiments earlier today, as he played behind Von Miller and Bradley Chubb in Denver before finally getting a crack at real playing time.
“We just need opportunity. When we get our opportunity, we embrace it each and every step of the way, that’s why I’m here right now, going on my fourth year. So yeah, I’m just ready for this opportunity.”