Not So Fast With Steelers Rookie WR Reggie Dunn – One Trick Ute

We all love speed, and ever since the 2013 NFL draft concluded, people can\’t stop talking about Utah wide receiver Reggie Dunn, who was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent late Saturday.

Dunn, who reportedly ran a 4.OHCRAP during his March pro day, had more 100-yard kick return touchdowns in his college career (5) than any player in NCAA history. He also set an NCAA single-season mark for the most 100-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns (4) and also set or tied three single-game kick return records in 2012. If you haven\’t yet seen those four touchdown returns, below is a video of them.

So why would someone with the ability like Dunn go undrafted? For starters, Dunn only returns kickoffs, not punts. Second, although he played wide receiver at Utah, he only managed to register 31 catches for 355 yards and one touchdown in 38 games played. In fact, he had more carries, 40 for 330 yards, than he had receptions. It\’s obvious that if he couldn\’t get on the field any more than that at Utah that he will have a tough time winning a spot on an NFL roster, unless he is kept as a kickoff return specialist.

Will the Steelers have room on their roster for a kickoff specialist? They tried that a few years ago when they kept running back Stefan Logan, but that turn out as well as they hoped and he was one and done in Pittsburgh.

In order for Dunn to make the Steelers 53 man roster, he will have to make it very hard for them to cut him by delivering the same kind of eye-popping kickoff return numbers like he posted at Utah. Even that might not be enough, but it will certainly help him land a job somewhere should the Steelers wind up cutting him.

Sure, I am rooting for Dunn to succeed, but unless he becomes a productive wide receiver between now and the end of the preseason, you have to accept what he really is: a one-trick Ute. I\’m not so sure the Steelers will have room for one of those this year.

  • steeltown

    Nope.. we will not have room on roster for a return specialist.. would much rather carry an extra OL or CB or LB

    Thats why the Steelers always covet players that can play ST in addition to their normal position – Stephens-Howling, E.Sanders, Gilreath, Kashif Moore all can return kicks and contribute in other facets.. heck even Hawthorne has alittle experience there and A.Brown (though they wont want to risk injury) Our return guys were productive last season, we had some good returns, they were just negated by penalties. In the end, Reggie Dunn is most likely ending up on the practice squad.. and even there he might have to battle JBrown or Kashif Moore for a spot

  • zyzak

    Most of the kick offs are touchbacks, if he cant catch punts what good is he?

  • Richard Edlin

    There’s no way the Steelers carry a return specialist … even when our returners made ground last year, the team had always infringed and the play comes back. Unless the rest of the return team stops giving away penalties there’s not even an upside, so why bother?

  • RW

    If he can play on more special teams units, they might consider keeping him. He’d have to be a willing tackler/blocker, though, and I’m not sure that he’s capable of those types of assignments. Given our field position problems of the past, though, nothing is strictly out of the question.

  • NW86

    Exactly. I’m really confused – why didn’t the Utes use him on punt returns??

  • Lamarr56

    We all saw how Stefan Logan worked out, if Dunn can’t catch, he won’t make the team in my opinion.

  • David Edward

    I’m not going to write off Dunn just yet. I actually like that he carried the ball out of the backfield. He’s basically a Rainey-type player. If he was a productive WR he would’ve been drafted. I think it will be tough for him to make the 53man, but I’d like to see what he can do on those WR screens Haley likes to run. Also would like to see what he can do out of the backfield on 3rd down.

  • reasonableute88

    coming from a Utah fan… I can tell you that those caries were actually mostly bubble screens or reverses. From what I can remember he never once lined up in the backfield. He had some issues catching, but those issues have reportedly been solved, if he did catch a pass, it was almost always a long gain.

  • SteelersDepot

    What’s intersting is he caught 12 of 14 targets last season. So why wasnt he used more? Scheme? Better, bigger, options?

  • The only way we keep him is if every other return option flops and we decide not to keep a few players like Stephens-Howling. And of course if he’s good enough. There’s def a spot for guys like this in todays game. Anyone see what Trindon Holiday did in the playoffs against the Ravens?


    This kid is fast…way faster than Logan! I think they bring him in and see what he can do in a battle for the Howlings /Batch spot, which really is all about swing passes and reverses in a properly run Haley offense anyway. We have plenty of receivers who can fulfill the punt return duties with experience at it. But I wholeheartedly agree that unless the rest of that squad quits creating penalties every other time they are on the field, we still won’t improve in the special teams game.

  • reasonableute88

    well… our starting QB got hurt in the beginning of the season, and we had to start a freshman QB with a 25 year old OC. We had receivers who were bigger, had better hands, so Dunn was used strictly for returning and screen passes. They threw down field to him a few times, and when they connected it was pretty much always a huge gain. I would say it’s not his hands but his route running ability that held him back. He didn’t return punts because while he has lots of straight line speed, he wasn’t the most agile person on the field, so someone else returned punts.

  • reasonableute88

    reverses and screens are this guys specialty! All those “runs” he had in college were all screens or reverses. When he gets around the corner before the defense it’s 6 points all day long.

  • Bill Bob

    They are a run offense the QB sucks so they played WR’s who were better blockers