When looking at this year's group of undrafted free agents for the Pittsburgh Steelers, there are two aspects worth noting.
Firstly, it is one of the smallest groups the Steelers have gathered in recent memory; at the same time, it is one of the most talented ensemble of selected players. In a year that has been one of the unpredictable in history due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this could be the year which one of more free agents finds spots on the 53-man roster.
From this talented group, here are three players who could make the strongest cases for a spot on the Steelers active roster.
DL Calvin Taylor Jr.
At 6'9, 311 lbs with basketball background, defensive linemen Calvin Taylor Jr has all the physical attributes NFL teams desire in a defensive lineman. Taylor Jr. Last season with the University of Kentucky, Taylor Jr. registered 8.5 sacks, which tied him for second in the SEC conference in this category, and 9.5 tackles for loss. Coming into training camp he will be one of the largest players on the Steelers roster. This offseason, their depth on the interior
took a big hit with the departure of Javon Hargrave. Even with the return of Stephon Tuitt and the addition of Chris Wormley through trade this offseason, there is still a need for quality depth. Taylor Jr. should be able to cease the opportunity and earn a roster spot when all is said and done.
DT Josiah Coatney
During this year's Reese's Senior Bowl week, Josiah Coatney received rave reviews from different coaches in attendance. During the week of practice, Coatney displayed the brand of physicality and technique that made him successful at Ole Miss. Last season, he led all Rebels linemen with 49 total tackles, along with two sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss. Despite going undrafted, his skill set was good enough to gain draft consideration from various NFL teams.As a traditional 3-technique linemen, Coatney has proven to have a knack of stopping the run. Don't be surprised during training camp, if his name is mentioned among the best performers during the week.
Montano is more than just a feel-good story. In addition to saving a man's life as a bone marrow donor, Montano was one of the top offensive linemen in the The American conference last season. In 13 starts with Tulane, he anchored an offensive line that averaged over 243 rushing yards per game. For his efforts, he was named Walter Camp Football Foundation Connecticut Player of the Year. Similar to former Steelers lineman BJ Finney, Montano brings position versatility to the table, capable of playing at guard and center. As it stands, the Steelers do not have a true backup center behind Maukice Pouncey. If he is able to put together a string of solid performances during training camp, he could very well take over the backup position.