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DB Nate Meadors Positioned to Snag Steelers Roster Spot with Strong Summer

Veteran safety Nate Meadors is looking to secure a spot on the Steelers final roster with a strong offseason.

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Pittsburgh Steelers safety Nate Meadors
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Nate Meadors at the team's OTAs session, May 21, 2024 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Pittsburgh Steelers had Nate Meadors on the practice squad for a bit of time last year but with a full offseason in the system, he is looking like a player worthy of a roster spot in 2024. In OTAs, Meadors recorded at least one interception and five pass breakups as he was one of the defensive backs to stick out.

The areas that Meadors’ game flashed the most included his range and length. Those allow him to disrupt throwing windows from a single-high safety role at a high level. Additionally, he can cover tight ends and slot receivers due to his background as a cornerback.

“In college I played a lot of press-man so it was kind of hard to get my hands around the ball, I wasn’t really getting too many attempts at it” Meadors told Steelers Now. “Now that I play safety and really get to have my eyes on the quarterback, seeing the ball, I am able to make a lot more plays. … Naturally, everybody wants to go get interceptions but it is just about taking the effort to go get the ball.”

Meadors’ transition from cornerback to safety allowed him to become a threat as a ballhawk. It was also a move that allowed him to further develop his game as he feels comfortable at three defensive positions.

“Coming into the league, I was a cornerback,” Meadors said. “I got moved to nickel, safety, kind of just moving along playing all three positions and I think I just take pride in knowing all three positions so it is an easy transition just in case a team wants to put me outside, put me inside, or put me at safety. I am just able to be prepared and make some plays happen.”

The Minnesota Vikings signed Meadors as an undrafted free agent and he transition to safety behind All-Pro Harrison Smith. Now, he sits behind another All-Pro safety in Minkah Fitzpatrick. Being behind the game’s best players have helped Meadors grow as a professional as he watched them conduct their business on a daily basis.

“I really have [been around some great safeties],” Meadors said. “The first safety I was around in Minnesota was Harrison Smith. Just being able to step behind him and learn how he goes about his season and goes about playing the game. Just like Minkah [Fitzpatrick], they are great safeties and I am just gathering all of the information that I can from each guy that I am behind.”

While he is listed as a safety, the UCLA product can play in a range of formations and coverages. For a team that is searching for a slot cornerback, Meadors bigger frame and cornerback background would give the team a familiar type of player at the position. Meadors games is comparable to formers Steelers cornerback Mike Hilton. While Meadors is bigger than Hilton, his eagerness to put a hat on the ball while being able to cover is very comparable to Hilton’s game.

“I take pride in being able to get into the box,” Meadors said. “I am not the biggest guy but I tackle very well and I am able to get my nose onto the ball and I think being able to play not only in the post but coming down in the box and make plays only makes, it only makes you more of a chess piece for the defense.”

“The Steelers organization takes great pride in having players that are knowledgable, have great football intelligence, and are able to be versatile and play in all types of [roles].” Meadors continued. “I just take pride in being able to fit in where I am needed.”

While his roster spot is not secured after a strong spring and summer, Meadors is playing his way to a roster spot just like Elijah Riley did a season ago. If he makes the final roster, he will likely play in an overhang slot cornerback role.

Steelers Nate Meadors

Cleveland Browns safety Nate Meadors participates in a drill during an NFL football practice at the team’s training facility Wednesday, June 8, 2022, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/David Richard)

38 • Nate Meadors, Safety, UCLA
5-foot-11, 189 pounds, 27 years old, 3rd Season

Acquired: The Steelers signed Nate Meadors to a reserve/future contract on Feb. 2, 2024.

Last Season: After playing in the spring league with the St. Louis BattleHawks, Nate Meadors intended to play for them again in 2024 until he signed a reserve/future contract with the Steelers in February. After his stint with the BattleHawks, Meadors signed with the Cleveland Browns and spent two week on their practice squad. After his release in August, he remained un-signed until the Steelers picked him up in December.

Career: The Minnesota Vikings signed Nate Meadors as a undrafted free agent following the 2019 NFL Draft. He spent one season in Minnesota before he was released. The Jacksonville Jaguars signed him to their practice squad in 2020 and he was elevated for just one game before he was waived.

Meadors spent time on the Browns and the Eagles practice squads in 2021 and then on the Titans and Giants practice squads in 2022.

In his career, Meadors appeared in three games and has recorded two combined tackles.

CollegeComing out of San Gorgonio High School in California, Nate Meadors committed to UCLA. In his first season with the Bruins, Meadors appeared in 10 games and even started two of them. His lone interception of the season helped seal a victory against Colorado.

Meadors became a full-time starter midway through the 2016 season and earned the job outright by the 2017 season. As a junior, Meadors started all 13 games for the Bruins and had his best collegiate season statistically. He tallied 55 tackles, one interception, a forced fumble and 10 defended passes.

Meadors appeared in 44 games for the Bruins and got credited with 150 total tackles, three interceptions and 22 defended passes.

Year GP TKLs INTs FFs PDs TFLs
2015 10 22 1 0 3 0
2016 11 36 0 0 6 0
2017 13 55 1 1 10 2
2018 10 37 1 0 3 2

Salary cap and future: Nate Meadors is signed through the end of the 2024 season. If Meadors makes the final roster, he will cost $915,000 against the team’s cap space. Since none of the contract is guaranteed, if the Steelers decide to release Meadors, they will not face any dead money penalties.

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