The Pittsburgh Steelers have reportedly signed their third-round selection, outside linebacker Alex Highsmith to his four-year rookie deal, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.
Highsmith is the first member of the Steelers’ 2020 draft class to sign.
A former walk-on, Highsmith started 25 games over his final two season with the Charlotte 49ers, 12 in 2018 and 13 last year. His 2019 campaign proved to be one for the record books.
Highsmith recorded 75 total tackles, 21.5 tackles-for-loss and 15 sacks as a senior — the third-most in the nation. He capped off his monster season earned third-team All-American honors, the first Charlotte player ever to do so.
With the uncertainty regarding outside linebacker Bud Dupree’s future in Pittsburgh, the Steelers have high hopes for Highsmith that he can learn quickly and contribute early at a much cheaper price.
Teams had been delaying their rookie signings because of COVID-19 restrictions, preventing them from conducting physicals with their newest draft picks. With Steelers rookies expected to arrive at the team facility over the next few days, the team is expected to sign their remaining five selections soon.
Steelers Sign P Jordan Berry, Elevate Trey Edmunds, Jayrone Elliott from Practice Squad
The Steelers officially signed veteran punter Jordan Berry, who previously punted for Pittsburgh from 2015 to 2020, and elevated two players from the practice squad.
Berry came in for a visit this past week after the Steelers released veteran punter Dustin Colquitt, who was signed to replace Berry right before the start of the regular season.
Despite the team’s 5-0 record, Mike Tomlin hinted Colquitt’s struggles could trigger a change at punter.
In other news, running back Trey Edmunds and linebacker Jayrone Elliott have both been elevated from the practice squad ahead of the team’s Week 7 game in Tennessee against the Titans. This marks the second time Edmunds has been elevated from the practice squad this season.
Report: Steelers to Sign, Bring Back Punter Jordan Berry
The Steelers are expected to sign Jordan Berry, according to Field Yates. Berry did come in for a visit with the team this past week.
This report comes after the Steelers released veteran punter Dustin Colquitt, who was signed right before the start of the regular season. Berry, who punted for Pittsburgh from 2015-1019, would be replacing the man who was brought in to replace him. Berry’s contract was terminated following the signing of Colquitt.
Despite the team’s 5-0 record, Mike Tomlin hinted Colquitt’s struggles could trigger a change at punter before the team’s Sunday road game against the Titans.
Steelers Release P Dustin Colquitt among Four Roster Moves
The Steelers released punter Dustin Colquitt on Friday, just five games into his tenure as the team’s punter, as part of a series of roster moves.
The team also placed linebacker Devin Bush on the injured reserve list, promoted defensive end Henry Mondeaux from the practice squad and signed rookie free agent linebacker Ray Wilborn to the practice squad.
Colquitt was signed to replace incumbent starter Jordan Berry at in between the end of training camp and the start of the regular season, but through five games, he had the worst net punting average in the NFL.
“I acknowledge that our punting is not up to snuff and that we have to get better in that area, and we are willing to do whatever is required in an effort to do so,” head coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday.
It’s not clear who the Steelers plan to replace Colquitt with at this time. They hosted Berry for a free-agent visit this week. They could also call up rookie punter Corliss Waitman from the practice squad.
Bush underwent surgery on Wednesday on his ACL and is expected to miss the remainder of the 2020 season. He will be replaced at inside linebacker by second-year backup Robert Spillane.
Mondeaux, a 6-foot-4, 280-pound defensive end out of Oregon, originally signed with the Steelers in May 2019 and spent all of the 2019 season on the team’s practice squad. He re-signed for 2020, and was once again placed on the practice squad before the start of the regular season.
Wilborn visited the Steelers on Monday. A 6-foot-4, 225-pound rookie out of Ball State, Wilborn played both safety and linebacker for the Cardinals, but projected to be a linebacker in the NFL. He spent training camp with the Atlanta Falcons.
With the moves, the Steelers still have one open spot on their 53-man roster and can call up as many as two players from the practice squad to play against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
Waitman could be one of those players, as could running back Trey Edmunds, who could once again be asked to replace injured fullback Derek Watt.