Mere minutes after announcing Chris Oladokun as their 2nd 7th round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers came to terms with their 2022 Undrafted Rookie Free Agent class. This will be Kevin Colbert’s final undrafted rookie free agent class, and as noted here before, he’s had an uncanny ability to pluck gems from players whose phones remained quite on draft day.
The Steelers 2022 undrafted rookie free agent class includes:
Jake Dixon, Offensive Tackle, Duquesne
Jordan Tucker, Offensive Tackle, North Carolina
Mataeo Durant, Running Back, Duke
Jaylen Warren, Running Back, Oklahoma State
Donovan Jeter, Defensive Lineman, Michigan
Tyree Johnson, Outside Linebacker, Texas A&M
T.D. Moultry, Outside Linebacker, Auburn
Chris Owens, Guard, Alabama
Chris Steele, Cornerback, Southern California
Bryce Watts, Cornerback, UMass
As expected, the group targets positions which the Steelers did not address in the draft, namely running back, offensive tackle and cornerback, although the inclusion of 2 outside linebackers is interesting.
- Undrafted rookie free agents are kind of like the Rudy’s of the NFL.
They are mainly there to fill out training camp rosters, saving the wear and tear on the starters. That’s true around the NFL, but these young gentlemen are luck to have landed in Pittsburgh.
As Mike Tomlin explained when asked about the pedigrees of several his draftees, “Arthur Maulet used to always make a joke last year during the season that he was a zero-star guy, and boy, you got respect for that, as well. I embraced the football justice component of it. It does not matter by what means you get here.”
The Steelers ended Chuck Noll’s policy of practicing without numbers so that coaches would evaluate all players objectively ended a long time ago. But the fundamental principle doesn’t change:
- Once you make it to St. Vincents its not about where you came from, but what you can prove on the field.
Fans reared during the Ben Roethlisberger era will remember the Ramon Foster, Steve McLendon, Isaac Redman, Willie Parker and James Harrison all arrived at St. Vincents as undrafted rookie free agents and used that as a launching pad to transform themselves into regular starters, cult heroes or Super Bowl record holders.
Dwight Stone arrived in Latrobe as an nobody from Middle Tenn. St. in the summer of 1987 and finished in the year 2000 after played 216 games over 14 years in the NFL. And of course Donnie Shell was just a nameless undrafted rookie free agent defensive back running drills with the likes of Mike Wagner, Glen Edwards and Mel Blount and now he’s in the Hall of Fame.
Gentleman, rest assured, you face long odds, but if you deliver while at St. Vincents, the Steelers will give you a fair shake.