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Why Jacoby Windmon Could Be The Steelers Most Valuable UDFA

If there is one team on which linebacker Jacoby Windmon left his imprint, it was the Western Michigan Mustangs.

On September 2, 2022, Windmon made his debut with the Michigan State Spartans after transferring from UNLV during the offseason. That day, Windmon was impactful from beginning to end, seemingly making almost every splash play for the Spartan defense. They would come away with a convincing 35-13 win over the Mustangs. Windmon registered the second-most sacks in a single season in program history: four sacks, along with seven total tackles and a forced fumble.

His performance garnered national recognition, and he would emerge as one of the Big Ten Conference's most impactful defensive players. What should have been an All-American-type season was marred by an incident following their loss to the Michigan Wolverines on October 20th, 2022. For his role, Windmon became one of five Spartans charged with misdemeanor assault and battery, and we would be suspended for the remainder of the season.

Unfortunately, Windmon's pectoral injury would haunt his redshirt senior year in 2023, limiting him to playing in just three games. He could have entered the transfer portal at the end of the season and had one more year of eligibility, but in the end, he would choose to forgo his senior year and enter the NFL Draft in January.

Even though he never had the chance to reach his full potential with the Spartans, his body of work was impressive; 233 tackles, 18.0 sacks, 30.5 tackles for loss, and nine forced fumbles. Whether he was taking snaps as an edge rusher or inside linebacker, Windmon had few limits to his production, primarily due to his 4.65 speed, which has at times made him omnipresent on the field.

The "undrafted" label may suggest that he has few chances of making an NFL roster. Yet, Windmon found himself on a team that values position flexibility. Considering the Steelers could use more depth at inside linebacker, Windmon may have the chance to put his speed and versatility to good use. In the same way Jaylen Warren emerged as a roster-worthy UDFA in 2022, Windmon has all the physical tools to make an unexpected run for a spot.

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