In one of its many post-draft articles, Bleacher Report named the undrafted free agent most likely to make each squad. The Pittsburgh Steelers are no strangers to building their team through UDFAs with well-known names like Donnie Shell, James Harrison, Willie Parker, and Ramon Foster littering the list throughout the years. Last season, RB Jaylen Warren went from UDFA to playing a key role in the Steelers’ offense.
This year, B/R named Minnesota QB Tanner Morgan as the UDFA with the best shot to make the Steelers, author Kristopher Knox viewing Morgan’s chances as a math problem:
“The Steelers have traditionally carried three QBs on the active roster, as they did last year with Pickett, Trubisky and Mason Rudolph.”
And right now, the Steelers have only three quarterbacks on the roster. The top two are locked in with Kenny Pickett the team’s starter and Mitch Trubisky. Morgan is the only other arm on Pittsburgh’s roster, signed with a $25k signing bonus after the draft.
Knox goes on to note that years ago, Morgan was viewed as a potential first round pick, not an undrafted afterthought:
“Back in 2019, Morgan had his best season, throwing for 3,253 yards and 30 touchdowns with seven interceptions.
While Morgan won’t jump off the game tape, he’s a capable pocket passer with five seasons of starting experience.”
Morgan broke out in 2019, leading Minnesota to an 11-2 record and Outback Bowl win over Auburn. He helped upset #5 Penn State, going 18/20 for 339 yards and three touchdowns in the victory, a game that helped put him and the program on the map. Some draftniks viewed him as a potential first round quarterback but Morgan’s career went downhill from there. He threw just seven touchdowns in seven games in 2020, only ten the following year, and had nine in 2022. Injuries became an issue and he suffered a pair of concussions this past year, contributing to his poor play and production.
It’s true the Steelers have historically carried three QBs on its roster but it’s hard to see Morgan being that guy in 2023, even if he’s currently the only option. Perhaps the team will add another veteran name from the XFL or elsewhere. Or they could buck their trend and only carry two QBs on the roster. The third QB is inactive and Morgan wouldn’t bring the veteran value Mason Rudolph did last season.
While Pittsburgh’s UDFA class is underwhelming without any obvious options to make the roster, EDGE David Perales might have a path. A highly productive pass rusher with 16 TFL and 11.5 sacks last season, Perales was hampered by an ankle injury in the pre-draft process and lacks ideal size. But his splash play ability, he also has nine career forced fumbles, could put him on the map this summer and follow in the footsteps of Ola Adeniyi, Tuzar Skipper, and Jamir Jones, recent pass rushers who have starred in camp before. Pittsburgh’s OLB situation behind T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith is unsettled, opening the door for someone like Perales to make it.
You can read our scouting report on both players, Morgan and Perales, below.