Will Ulysees Gilbert III Finally Get His Chance?

Photo: Karl Roser/Pittsburgh Steelers

It is not often, a sixth round rookie comes into the NFL with Ulysees Gilbert III's skillset.

During the 2019 preseason, it did not take long for Gilbert III to make an impression with the Pittsburgh Steelers coaching staff. In their contests against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tennessee Titans', his closing speed and playmaking abilities were well-displayed; so much so, he earned a spot on the active roster.

After playing 150 snaps on special teams last season, Gilbert III was eventually placed on injury reserve because of recurring back problems.

Coming into this season, many projected Gilbert III as a potential breakout player for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Yet, in three games this season, he has yet to be activated. Even after strong performances during preseason training camp and earning a spot on the active roster, Gilbert III has not seen a snap on defense or on special teams.

One such a reason could be linked to third-year safety Marcus Allen, who converted full-time

to the inside linebacker position during training camp. As it stands, this conversion not only resulted in a position on the active roster, Allen has seen 34 snaps on special teams so far. Backup linebacker Robert Spillane, who has emerged as an important contributor on special team, has been active with 60 snaps.

With the Steelers facing an unforeseen compressed schedule, potential injuries could open

the door of opportunity for Gilbert III. Considering their depth at the inside linebacker position is relatively thin, they will need as many healthy bodies for the long stretch of the season. That opportunity may not happen now, but at some point, Gilbert III should find himself in the position to finally contribute.

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