The action doesn’t really stop after the last selection in the NFL Draft has been made. As soon as “Mr. Irrelevant” is named, scouts and assistant coaches race to the phones, eager to come to terms with men how missed the draft, men who are now unrestricted rookie free agents.
In many cities the unrestricted rookie free agent class is little more than a side note, perhaps relegated to the back corner of a traditional newspaper under a heading of “Transactions.”
- Steelers Nation has come to know better when it comes to unrestricted rookie free agents.
In 2001 it there was an unsung nose tackle from BYU named Chris Hoke. A year later there was another one from Kent State who declined a call from Oakland because he didn’t like to fly on planes. His name was James Harrison. Two years later the Steelers picked up an running back who rode the bench at North Carolina State on the advice of Dan Rooney Jr. They called him fast Willie Parker. In 2010 it was Steve McLendon.
The Steelers Nation’s best hopes for another Lombardi during Ben Roethlisberger‘s time do lie with Ryan Shaizer, Stephon Tuitt and the rest of the Steelers 2014 draft class, but success unrestricted rookie Free Agents have been Kevin Colbert’s secret weapon during his time with the Steelers.
Here’s a look at the 9 undrafted rookie free agents the Steelers have signed thus far:
Chris Elkins, offensive line from Youngstown State, 6’4” 300 lbs
Ethan Hemer, defensive end from Wisconsin University, 6’6” 285 lbs
Kaycee Ike, offensive tackle from the University of Alabama, 6’5” 293 lbs
Howard Jones, linebacker from Shepherd College, 6’4” 238 lbs
Brendon Kay, quarterback from the University of Cincinnati, quarterback, 6’4” 228 lbs
Josh Mauro, defensive end from Stanford University, 6’6” 282
Roy Philon, defensive tackle from University of Lousiville, 6’3” 291
Will Simmons, guard from East Carolina, 6’5” 342 lbs
Eric Waters, tight end from Missouri, 6’5” 245 lbs
The Steelers will also reportedly give unrestricted rookie free agent Devon Carrington who is a safety from Stanford a try out during rookie mini-camp.
- Of this unrestricted rookie free agent group, Jones, Mauro, Hemer and Waters are seen has having the greatest potential, in the eyes of ESPN’s Scott Brown.
Time will tell. Since the days of Chuck Noll the Steelers have been dedicated to giving unrestricted rookie free agents a fair shot, and for proof, look no further than to the multiple Super Bowl rings Donnie Shell, Willie Parker and James Harrison wear — to name just a few.