The Steelers signed linebacker Derrick Doggett to a futures contract on Tuesday. Doggett has played for the last two season in the CFL and most recently for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were he established himself as the one of the leagues top special teams players in 2009 and proved he can be a solid linebacker as well. Doggett played his college ball at Oregon State. Steelers Depot caught up with him and he was gracious enough to answer a few questions for us.
Steelers Depot: How long was your workout with the Steelers and what type of drills did they put you through?
Derrick Doggett: It was a great opportunity to work out with the Steelers this week. The workout was about 30 min. They put me through linebacker and special teams drills. They charted my time for the 40-yard dash.
Steelers Depot: In addition to being a contributor on special teams, have the Steelers decided if they want you to work as a safety or linebacker on defense? Which position do you feel you are better suited for?
Derrick Doggett: They’ve decided to focus on my skills in the linebacker position. Throughout my college career I played as linebacker with the Oregon State Beavers. I feel very comfortable playing that position.
Steelers Depot: Without a doubt you have heard about the Steelers special teams struggles during the 2009 season. You established yourself as a force on special teams in 2009 in the CFL. What role and position did you play on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers special teams unit this past season?
Derrick Doggett: Everybody can’t play on special teams. You really have to have the mindset to be ready to go down the field and hit somebody. I feel good about my role on special teams because I keep myself alert and ready to make a tackle or a block. Since I developed my skills on special teams, I feel like I can help my team gain momentum during games.
Steelers Depot: Coming out Oregon State, what area of your game have you worked on most to prove that NFL teams were wrong for not drafting you in 2008? What was the biggest pre-draft knock on you?
Derrick Doggett: I’ve been working a lot trying to put on good weight so that teams can see me as a good linebacker since this is where I feel most comfortable playing. But I’ve worked on everything overall; from footwork to weight to my hands. I’ve worked on my mental preparation for practices and game day. I’m working hard to improve in all areas of my game. My weight really held me back in the pre-draft. I was a “tweener” to a lot of the teams and they weren’t sure if I would be better as a linebacker or a safety. But I’ve gotten my weight up to the 220s now and I plan to continue to improve my weight and maintain my skills as I gain.
Steelers Depot: Which current NFL player would you say that your play most resembles and why?
Derrick Doggett: I don’t really think my play resemble just one player. I have skills that are similar to the talents of a lot of different players in the NFL. I try to learn from the best qualities in my favorite players and incorporate what I see into my own game.
Steelers Depot: Once again, thanks for your time and all of Steeler Nation looks forward to seeing you at training camp in Latrobe. We wish you the best of luck and can not wait to see your contributions, especially on special teams.
Derrick Doggett: Thanks for the interview appreciate it.
Below are a few videos I dug up on Derrick from his Oregon State days.