Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Eli Rogers was selected by the Tampa Bay Bandits on the second day of the 2022 USFL Draft on Wednesday.
Rogers was taken with the fifth pick in the 13th round of the draft, which was the first round that a wide receiver could be drafted in. In Tampa, he will be reunited with former Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who is the Bandits’ head coach.
Joining the Steelers as an undrafted free agent out of Louisville in 2015, Rogers exceeded expectations. He missed his entire rookie season with an injury, but then won a training camp competition to the the Steelers’ fifth wide receiver in 2016.
He was the team’s fourth or fifth option in both 2016 and 2017, but an ACL injury in the 2017 playoffs kept him from starting his 2018 season on time and he was also suspended one game for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
After returning late in 2018, Rogers signed a two-year extension with the Steelers, but was a surprise cut coming out of training camp in 2019. In total, he played 30 games with Pittsburgh over three seasons, catching 78 passes for 822 yards and four touchdowns.
Since his time with the Steelers, Rogers played with the DC Defenders in the XFL in 2020 and the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL in 2021.
With Tampa, he’ll be catching passes from Jordan Ta’amu and Brady White, who went to the Bandits on the first day of the draft on Tuesday.
Rogers is the third former Steelers player to be selected by a USFL team, joining defensive end Cavon Walker and quarterback Paxton Lynch, who went to the Michigan Panthers on Tuesday.
The league will begin play in late April, with all eight teams playing their 2022 gams in Birmingham, Alabama. The 2022 playoffs and championship games will be held in Canton, Ohio later this summer.