Last season, three undrafted free agents from the 2012 draft class made the Pittsburgh Steelers 53 man roster out of training camp as punter Drew Butler, linebacker Adrian Robinson and safety Robert Golden all beat the odds. This years\’ undrafted free agent class has a tougher road, in my opinion, but there are five players I think at least have a chance of making the 2013 team.
G Nik Embernate – (25% Chance) – Embernate was one of the Steelers highest priority undrafted free agents after playing in 47 games at San Diego State, mostly at right guard. Embernate can move well for a player with his kind of build and is as nasty as they come on the football field. If you want a comparison to a player currently in the NFL, Miami Dolphins left guard Richie Incognito comes to mind. In order for Embernate to make the final 53 man roster, he will have to be very impressive in the preseason and hope that the team carries nine offensive lineman instead of eight. At the very least, Embernate should be a lock for the Steelers practice squad.
LS Luke Ingram – (20% chance) – Yes, I have a long snapper listed second because if ever there was a year that veteran Greg Warren was at risk of losing his job; this would be the year. New special teams coach Danny Smith has no loyalties to Warren, who had a missed assignment on a punt block last year in addition to a bad snap on a missed short field goal in the crucial loss late last season to the Cincinnati Bengals. Ingram finished his career at Hawaii having started all 52 games at long snapper, and he snapped every PAT, field goal and punt attempt during his career without one bad snap that led to a blocked kick or mishandled placement. His leash will be short, but should he win the job; he could be the Steelers long snapper for several years to come.
T Mike Golic, Jr. – (5% Chance) – The son of Mike Golic, who played eight seasons in the NFL as a defensive tackle, so he has the bloodlines and a great mentor. The path to the 53 will be very tough for the Notre Dame product as the Steelers are reportedly mostly working him at right tackle, which is not his normal position. Golic Jr. lacks college starts, but he did show that he could play both the guard and center position in college. With both Guy Whimper and Joe Long currently ahead of him on the depth chart, Golic Jr. certainly has his work cut out for him.
KR/WR Reggie Dunn – (3% Chance) – If you haven\’t seen the five 100 yard kickoff returns for touchdowns that Dunn had at Utah, then you are certainly one of the few that hasn\’t. Dunn, who is blazing fast, will not only have to prove that he can return kicks at the next level in order to make the Steelers 53 man roster, but punts as well. He wasn\’t the punt returner at Utah, so there are some concerns when it comes to that area of his game, but rests assured, he will get a chance in training camp to prove that he can do that. In addition to the above, it would be helpful if Dunn can show that he can become a wide receiver at the next level after only catching 31 passes for 355 yards and a touchdown in college. Stefan Logan beat the odds a few seasons ago, so at least he has something to shoot for.
WR J.D. Woods – (2% Chance) – Woods was a bit of a late bloomer at West Virginia where he played third fiddle to Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. However, thanks to the offense he was in, he still managed to catch 61 passes for 637 yards and four touchdowns last season. Woods\’ path to the Steelers 53 man roster will start with him having to beat out sixth-round draft pick Justin Brown, but merely accomplishing that still will not be enough because veteran Plaxico Burress will have to be overtaken in addition. Above everything else, Woods will have to show that he can play and contribute on special teams being as he will be shooting to be the fifth wide receiver on the roster.