2023 Steelers Futures Report – OG William Dunkle

As we’ve done in previous years, we’re taking a look at those Pittsburgh Steelers under futures contracts for the 2023 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.

Williams Dunkle/OG San Diego State – 6047 347

Bill Dunkle. I just love that name. I don’t know what it is, I know it’s such a silly point, but I love saying it. Bill Dunkle.

But he has more to offer than a name of some guy who played in the 1940s. He’s a mountain of a man at 6’5, 350 pounds, though that was his weight in 2022 and it’s not clear if he’s been asked to drop anything since officially breaking into the NFL.

A three-year starter for the Aztecs who immediately found his way into the lineup after redshirting, he surprisingly declared after the 2021 season. He had good grades and marks but you don’t often see Mountain West interior linemen leave early and when they do, they’re clear first round picks. Dunkle wasn’t. Instead, he tested poorly at the Combine (4.41 Relative Athletic Score) and fell out of the draft entirely, signing with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent. He didn’t even make it through the entire summer with them, released during one of the mid-camp roster cuts.

At the time, Pittsburgh was clearly unhappy with their reserve offensive line and Dunkle was part of the additions as Omar Khan turned over that group. Dunkle was signed on August 16th three days before the team broke camp. For what it’s worth, Dunkle was in the “one box away” category in our annual “what they look for” study. He ran third-team right guard all three days and we didn’t make many notes of him aside from where he aligned. Overall, our preseason notes on him weren’t notable and he was predictably waived at final cutdowns.

To his credit, the team quickly re-signed him to the practice squad and kept him there throughout the entire season. Never was he part of the roster shuffle getting waived and brought back like so many others. He never received a call-up to the 53-man roster, Pittsburgh’s good health upfront never created much urgency, but he signed a futures deal shortly after the Steelers’ season ended.

Now he’s at the back end of the roster trying to survive. Pittsburgh will likely add depth this offseason and it’s hard to see a path to Dunkle making the 53. His size is intriguing and maybe he’ll land on the practice squad again. He’ll enter this year with a full offseason, no longer a rookie wondering about his home, not bouncing around teams in the middle of the summer. That’ll help create stability though it’s not going to be enough for him to contribute to this team next season. But I’ll smile when I say his name. Bill Dunkle.

Bill Dunkle. 

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