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Unheralded Steelers OLB Holds Vital Role in Practice



Steelers David Perales

PITTSBURGH — When it comes to edge rushers in the NFL, David Perales is a nobody. A young player trying to find his footing in the NFL on the practice squad, Perales’ way to prove himself is by shining on the scout team. But he’s been given a huge role on the scout team these last three weeks.

And when you’re on the practice squad and don’t get a chance to suit up for real on a day-to-day basis, it’s sometimes hard to get the competitive juices flowing.
For the Steelers rookie outside linebacker, he’s channeled his energy into his scout team work. When the linemen that he works with all week don’t give up a sack, he sees that as a win for him.

Perales has taken on the image of some tough customers so far this season, donning a red 97 practice pinny as Nick Bosa in Week 1 and an orange 95 as Myles Garrett in Week 2. This week, it’s No. 98, as Perales is dressing as Las Vegas Raiders star Maxx Crosby in practice. Next week, he will likely play standout Texans rookie Will Anderson

He’s on a two-game winning streak, as the Steelers offensive line has held both Bosa and Garrett without a sack in back-to-back weeks. Despite the Steelers game-planning for those players heavily and changing how they run their offense as a result, Perales’ ability to give the team good looks is a sure fire way to endear himself to the coaching staff.

Last week, Perales said that he would even do the viral crossover move that Garrett pulled off against the Bengals in Week 1 when rushing from the A-Gap. Coming out of Fresno State as a productive player that teams would be planning for on the other side, Perales is just waiting for his moment to shine.

In 2022, Perales totaled 47 combined tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. His best game of last season came against San Jose State when he recorded a career-high five tackles for loss and four sacks in that single game.

Following the season, Perales earned first-team All-Mountain West honors for his stellar play. His 16 tackles for loss were the most in a season by a Bulldog since 2015. His 11.5 sacks ranked seventh in the entirety of the FBS.

Now, he wants to prove he can do similar things in the NFL. Giving great looks on the scout team is a good way to get called upon if injuries the positional unit. If the Steelers ever sustain a hefty amount of injuries to their outside linebacker room, expect Perales to be one of the first ones called upon.