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Steelers Invite Duquesne WR D.J. Powell to Rookie Minicamp

The Pittsburgh Steelers are hosting Duquense wide receiver D.J. Powell at their rookie minicamp later this week, the university announced.

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Pittsburgh Steelers D.J. Powell
Duquense wide receiver D.J. Powell in a game against Edinboro - Jared D. Todhunter / PSN

The Pittsburgh Steelers are inviting Duquense wide receiver D.J. Powell to their rookie minicamp later this week, the school announced. Powell, a native of Deerfield Beach, Florida, was a first-team All-NEC selection with the Dukes in 2023. He led the team with 713 receiving yards and nine touchdowns, racking up 20.97 yards per catch this season, a career-high for him.

Before joining Duquesne as a graduate student, Powell spent his first five collegiate seasons with Bethune Cookman. While there, he recorded just 19 receptions for 269 yards in 11 games in 2022 before his monster 2023 campaign that put him on the scene with the Dukes.

At his pro day, Powell weighed in at 6-foot-2 1/2 while weighing 192 pounds. He ran a 4.72 40-yard dash while putting up a 29 1/2-inch vertical jump. Those are not impressive numbers, but his breakout campaign did make him a dynamic threat to be watched.

Pittsburgh Steelers DJ Powell

Duquesne wide receiver DJ Powell – Eddie Provident / PSN

The Steelers invited former Duquesne wide receiver Dwyane Menders to their rookie minicamp a year ago. So, this is the second straight season that this has happened for a Dukes wide receiver. He will join others at the rookie minicamp, including Villanova’s Rayjuon Pringle, who led the FCS in yards per reception this past season. Powell led the NEC in that metric.

Players invited to rookie minicamp will come to Pittsburgh on a tryout basis for two or three practices. The Steelers have a two-practice session on Friday and Saturday two weeks after the first round of the NFL Draft, which falls on May 10-11 this year.

In addition to tryouts, first-year players and drafted and undrafted rookies can participate. Last year, the Steelers signed running back Alfonzo Graham from Morgan State and outside linebacker Toby Ndukwe from Sam Houston State out of their rookie minicamp tryout class.

The most notable player in recent memory to be signed out of the rookie minicamp was Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges, who ended up starting games for the Steelers in 2019 and impressing enough in training camp to stay on the practice squad for the entire season.