The Pittsburgh Steelers have officially signed six undrafted free agents for the 2023 season, the team announced on Friday.
The club had previously agreed to terms with seven players, but only six ended up signing contracts with the team. Iowa State offensive lineman Trevor Downing did not sign with the club.
The Steelers did sign San Diego State running back/wide receiver/kick returner Jordan Byrd, Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan, Fresno State outside linebacker David Perales, Iowa fullback Monte Pottebaum, Clemson kicker B.T. Potter and Merrimack defensive lineman Jay Nyamwaya.
SAN DIEGO STATE
MEASURABLES (AT PRO DAY) 5-foot-7 1/8, 166 pounds, 8 3/4-inch hands, 68 1/2-inch wingspan, 29-inch arms; 4.52-second 40-yard dash (1.61-second 10-yard split, 2.62-second 20-yard split), 4.47-second shuttle, 7.04 three-cone drill; 9-foot-9 broad jump, 34-inch vertical jump, 16 bench press reps.
STATS Ran 275 times for 1,353 yards (4.9 yards per carry) over five-year career. Caught 47 passes for 219 yards scored 13 scrimmage touchdowns. Averaged 24.9 yards per kickoff return and 6.6 yards per punt return, along with four return touchdowns.
EVAULATION Byrd was listed as a running back by San Diego State, but he’ll start out as a wide receiver with the Steelers. It’s hard to make a roster as an NFL kickoff returner these days, so he’ll have to find another way to make an impact on special teams, either with better punt returns or as a gunner.
MEASURABLES (AT PRO DAY) 6-foot 3/8, 204 pounds, 9 1/2-inch hands, 73 1/2-inch wingspan, 29 7/8-inch arms; 4.97-second 40-yard dash (1.72-second 10-yard split, 2.75-second 20-yard split), 4.45-second shuttle, 7.23-second three-cone drill; 9-foot-8 broad jump, 30-inch vertical jump
STATS Threw for 9,454 over five years with the Golden Gophers. He best statistical season came back in 2019, when he completed 210 of 318 (66%) for 3,252 yards, 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Since then, the results have been mixed. He played nine games in 2022, completing 66.9% of his passes with a 151.7 passer rating.
EVAULATION Penciled in at third on the Steelers’ depth chart, Morgan doesn’t bring a lot of elite physical tools to the quarterback position. The hope is that his extensive experience will allow him to make the transition to the NFL quickly and that he can become a trusted backup and advisor for Kenny Pickett over the years.
MEASURABLES (AT PRO DAY) 6-foot-2 1/4, 248 pounds, 9 1/4-inch hands, 78 3/4-inch wingspan, 32-inch arms; 5.04-second 40-yard dash (1.74-second 10-yard split, 2.82-second 20-yard split), 4.45-second shuttle, 7.10-second three cone drill; 22 bench press reps
STATS Perales broke out over his last two seasons, putting up a combined 18.5 sacks over his final 27 games with the Bulldogs. He also had 29.5 tackles for loss in that span, an interception, six passes defended and five forced fumbles. While his physical traits leave a lot to be desired, the Steelers are betting on production carrying over.
EVAULATION The Steelres have minimal depth at outside linebacker, and some of their best depth comes from players that also will play other positions (DE DeMarvin Leal, LB Nick Herbig), and special teams (Quincy Roche). Perales is more of a pure backups, and could be a solid choice for the practice squad in that role.
MEASURABLES (AT PRO DAY) 6-foot-1 1/4, 242 pounds, 9-inch hands, 75-inch wingspan, 31 1/4-inch arms; 4.83-second 40-yard dash (1.63-second 10-yard split, 2.75-second 20-yard split), 4.23-second short shuttle, 7.12-second three-cone drill; 9-foot-11 broad jump, 34 1/2-inch vertical jump, 21 bench press reps.
STATS The Hawkeyes used Pottebaum as almost exclusively a blocker. In four seasons, he finished with 20 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown and 10 catches for 85 yards. He was also a special teamer with three career tackles and one kickoff return.
EVAULATION It looks like the Steelers are going to use Connor Heyward as their primary fullback, moving him from a pure tight end in 2022 to more of a hybrid role going forward. Pottebaum might not find a spot on the 53-man roster, but if they want the option of going to a more traditional fullback for certain games, or simulating one in practice, he could be a useful practice squad member.
MEASURABLES (AT PRO DAY) 5-foot-9 3/4, 185 pounds, 8 7/8-inch hands, 74 1/4-inch wingspan, 30 3/8-inch arms
STATS Potter was consistent from short range, making 234 of his 235 collegiate extra points. In 2022, he made every kick from under 40 yards, but was 6 of 10 from 40-49 yards and 2 of 4 from 50 yards or longer.
EVAULATION Potter will provide training camp competition for Chris Boswell, and more realistically, just be an extra leg.
MEASURABLES (AT PRO DAY) 6-foot-4, 294 pounds, 9 3/4-inch hands, 75 1/4-inch wingspan, 31 1/4-inch arms; 5.08-second 40-yard dash (1.75-second 10-yard split, 2.88-second 20-yard split), 4.68-second shuttle, 7.89-second three-cone drill; 9-foot-3 broad jump, 35-inch vertical jump, 14 bench press reps.
STATS Nyamwaya played his first three seasons at Division III Colby College before making the jump to Merrimack at the FCS level. He posted career highs despite the jump in competition, with 6.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.
EVAULATION Nyamwaya needs to get stronger, and can add to his frame, but is an interesting long-term bet at the defensive line position because of his combination of a long frame with surprising agility.