Nov 7, 2014; Laramie, WY, USA; Utah State Aggies offensive lineman Kevin Whimpey (74) and Gasetoto Schuster (left) and Jake Simonich (76) celebrate with the Bridger Rifle traveling trophy after game against the Wyoming Cowboys at War Memorial Stadium. The Aggies defeated the Cowboys 20-3. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports
As it is every year, once the NFL draft concludes, those who got shunned by teams in the league during the three days of the selection process are eligible to sign as undrafted rookie free agents.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have added 12 such players. Make no mistake, just because a player fails to get picked in the draft does not mean he can’t play in the pros.
Just ask one of the many former Steelers who had stellar careers in Pittsburgh after not being drafted (Donnie Shell, Jack Butler, “Fast” Willie Parker, James Harrison, Keith Willis, and Ramon Foster).
In 2015, the Pittsburgh Steelers have added 12 men of various positions, some with intriguing backgrounds, personalities, and success stories that leave some wondering how they were overlooked.
Here are the 12 newest members of the Steelers who hope to still be wearing a Black and Gold jersey come opening day:
Cameron Clear, tight end (Texas A&M). While there are some still wondering about the selection of Jesse James, along comes another tight end who will clearly have big time trouble making the team. Having played at a major college helps and his size will be a factor (6’7”, 277). But let’s make one thing Clear, the Steelers frown on a negative image, so they will have to look past the fact that Clear was released from the team at the University of Tennessee in 2012 when he was arrested for felony theft. Said one AFC Scout on Clear: “The Aggies tried to feature him in the game plan against Alabama and he looked absolutely lost on tape. I think his weight is going to be an issue for him and I just don’t think he’s tough enough to play in our league.”
Nigel Crawford-Kinney, defensive tackle (Saint Augustine’s). The Steelers have a history of finding players from small schools (John Stallworth-Alabama A&M, Joe Greene-University of North Texas, Mel Blount-Southern University and A&M College).
Dominique Davis, defensive end (Liberty). On the heels of one small school signing comes another. If Davis makes the team, he won’t be the first Flame from Liberty to play for the Steelers. Eric Green was an outstanding tight end who played multiple seasons in Pittsburgh and became one of the league’s top tight ends at the time. For Davis, he will try to reinforce a line for the Steelers that could use depth.
Miles Dieffenbach, guard (Penn State). For Jesse James, the tight end from Penn State who the Steelers drafted, Dieffenbach will be a familiar face. That’s because they were teammates as Nittany Lions and Dieffenbach was on the offensive line with James. Dieffenbach is coming off a torn ACL as well as a sprained MCL so he must show the Steelers he is 100%.
Reese Dismukes, guard (Auburn). Another major school and another o-lineman. Dismukes was a four-year starter and won the Rimington Trophy in 2014 for being the country’s top center. He joins an already crowded depth chart on the offensive line. From an unnamed NFC offensive line coach on Dismukes: “His tape isn’t all that guard when you focus in on Auburn’s gap scheme, but when you watch him on the move, he looks much better. I think zone teams will take a look at him as someone who can eventually become a starter.”
B.J. Finney, center (Kansas State). Do you think the Steelers are seeking help in front of Ben Roethlisberger? Another four-year starter, Finney was at center for 52 straight games. Finney also set a Kansas State mark for being named team captain three out of his four years.
Tyler Murphy, wide receiver (Boston College). This is curious…the Steelers signed Murphy as a wide receiver but he played quarterback for the Eagles. Can you say Kordell Stewart? Murphy now owns the rushing record by a quarterback at Boston College breaking Doug Flutie’s old mark.
Bradon Prate, defensive end (Illinois State). There can never be enough competition at any position. With that said, along comes another d-lineman.
Collin Rahrig: guard (Indiana). Depth on the other side of the defense. Coleman was an All-American last season and interestingly enough, finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy balloting. At 285 pounds, it’s extremely unlikely he makes the team.
Eli Rogers, wide receiver (Louisville). Two words on Rogers making this squad: Good luck!
Ross Scheuerman, running back (Lafayette, PA). Depending on the number of running backs kept on the roster, after Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams, backup spots are fair game.
Kevin Whimpey, offensive tackle (Utah State). Finally, we have a man that is certainly not wimpy. At 6’5”, 295 pounds, the big man may be the feel good story of the undrafted rookies. That’s because he is a family man. Whimpey is a Latter Day Saints missionary with a wife and daughter. He has great character and absolute strength. Not invited to the NFL Combines, instead, Whimpey nailed 39 reps on the 225-pound bench press during his Pro Day, besting the 2015 combine mark of 39. Whimpey was shooting for the NFL record of 49, but according to him, “I was hoping to go 45, maybe 50, try and break that record. But I let the breath out a little bit too early.”