Steelers News

Steelers Announce Signing Of Seven Undrafted Free Agents

After an unusually long wait, the Pittsburgh Steelers announced their initial 2023 undrafted free agent class. Sunday, the Steelers shared the seven players they have signed. 

Wide Receiver/Return Specialist Jordan Byrd – San Diego State
Center Trevor Downing – Iowa State
Quarterback Tanner Morgan – Minnesota
Defensive End James Nyamwaya – Merrimack
Linebacker David Perales – Fresno State
Fullback Monte Pottebaum – Iowa
Kicker B.T. Potter – Clemson

It’s a smaller class than what Pittsburgh typically announces and opens the window for potentially other players to be added to the roster in order to hit the 90-man cap. Perhaps the team will sign additional UDFAs, more veterans, or use their remaining spots to open the door for tryout players who participate in rookie minicamp two weeks from now. It’s also uncommon to see the team take this long to announce its class. Usually, it’s done a few hours after the draft.

The only new name here who wasn’t officially on our UDFA tracker is Iowa State center Trevor Downing, though we saw a report last night that Downing was in talks with the Steelers. Evidently, he chose to continue playing football over his farming career. It doesn’t get much more Iowa than that.

Downing started 2021 at guard before moving to center in 2022 for the Cyclones. He’ll compete for a practice squad spot this summer.

Morgan was a big name earlier in his college career, throwing 30 touchdowns for the Gophers in 2019 and at one point was considered a potential first-round pick. But his numbers fell off from there and in 2022, he threw just nine touchdowns with five interceptions. Morgan is cousins with former NFL QB and #1 overall pick Tim Couch, who was taken by the Browns but had a rocky career after Cleveland re-entered the NFL. Couch’s debut came against the Steelers in 1999, a game in which he was promptly picked off. Pittsburgh always carries four quarterbacks to camp so perhaps it will sign another UDFA. They’ll also be inviting at least one to rookie minicamp and could add a veteran arm from the XFL.

Byrd didn’t do much on offense in his career but is a dangerous return man with four career touchdowns, three on kicks and one on punts. A small man at 5076, 166 pounds, he only ran a 4.52 at his Aztecs Pro Day but plays faster on tape. He’s listed as a receiver despite catching only 47 passes in college. Last year, he ran the ball 100 times but averaged just only 3.8 yards per carry.

Pottebaum was considered one of the draft’s top pure fullbacks and lead blockers. His blonde mullet led the way for the Hawkeyes and in 2021, he carried the ball 15 times. Derek Watt is doubtful to return. That opens the door for a new fullback, though Matt Canada suggested Connor Heyward will assume more of that role in 2023.

Nyamwaya is a height/weight/length player from small Merrimack College. At 6’4, 294 pounds with long 34 1/4-inch arms, he had a solid Pro Day workout, running a 5.08 40, with a 35-inch vertical and 9’3″ broad. Last season, he recorded 27 tackles (6.5 for a loss) with 5.5 sacks.

Perales is one of the more notable players on the list. A highly productive player with a good motor, he finished his Bulldogs career with 38 TFL and 23 sacks. Last season, he had 16.5 TFL and 11 sacks. He’s also forced nine fumbles in his career. A JUCO and Sacramento State transfer, he weighed in at 6022, 248 pounds with 32-inch arms at his Pro Day. His 7.04 three-cone suggests some ability to bend the edge.

Potter is the most experienced player in Clemson history, breaking Chris Gardocki’s record for most games played. He hit 75.3% of his career field goals and has a solid leg, though it maxes out at around 52-53 yards. He also handled kickoffs in college. We wrote a pre-draft scouting report on him you can find below. We’ll have reports on the rest of the class in the coming days.

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