Five Undrafted Free Agents That Have A Chance Of Making The Steelers 2013 Roster

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.

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • steeltown

    I agree with this.. might give Golic a slightly higher % chance of making the Team, but it does seem that Joe Long might have a leg up on him (considering they’ve been playing Golic at OT) and Long’s been around since last season

    I hope Embernate makes the Team as the 9th OL and I hope Golic and J.D.Woods can make it to the PS

  • Ray

    I think Golic’s position flexibility give him a little bit better than a 5% chance. If he can prove that he can at least fill in at right tackle it gives him 4 positions he can play.

    I also think Dunn has a better chance than 3%. Dunn is obviously limited but this regime has been willing to take a lot of chances on special teams players with huge return capabilities. If they think they can make Dunn a weapon with the ball in his hands on offense they might be willing to use a roster spot on him instead of risk losing him.

  • steeltown

    I’d have to agree with you.. I am not sure how much OG they’ve asked Golic to play, maybe he’ll see more in training camp, but I would assume if he can play OG and OT and possibly be an emergency (#3) Center which he played some in college, I would assume that in the long run he would be more valuable than a Joe Long, Whimper or even Malecki who are all limited to their respective positions

  • steves

    Golic played some center in College and I don’t know why the Steelers don’t have him back up Pouncy?? This would have Golic back up every position on the line, with him able to play guard, tackle and center.
    Embernasty needs to show his nastiness in camp and take it out on the opposing teams personal in preseason, then he will make 53. His chances are slim and if he don’t make the team he can be on the PS.

  • NW86

    I mostly agree with the list, but I would actually give the top 3 on your list a better chance than you did. Somewhere close to 50/50 for each of them.
    I don’t think Woods has any chance – not only does he need to beat out Brown and Plax, but also Gilreath and the aforementioned Dunn. If I had to put someone else as #5…maybe Omar Hunter at NT. I don’t know much about him, but Ta’amu and Fangupo are both unproven guys that could potentially be beaten for a spot.

  • Mike.H

    I don’t know where Joe Long was drafted or not; What are Long’s chances??

  • steeltown

    Joe Long was brought in mid season last year.. I think that helps his chances being that he’s technically not a rookie and has some experience with the Offense

  • Shea Fahr

    I guess we will have to wait and see after the big NFL purge towards/at the end of camp to see if they pick up any other vets but with Embernate’s durability and nastiness, I would hope he has some position flex to go along with it. Golic certainly seems to have the right attitude as well. I do think they want to have some inexpensive experienced depth on that interior though.

  • Christopher Wilkes

    I don’t think you could edit this list any better, although I really hope Reggie Dunn doesn’t make the team. The only way I’d consider it would be if the Steelers only went with 3 RBs and Dunn took LaRod’s spot on the 53. That speed is awesome, but doesn’t seem like he does anything else but return kickoffs. I won’t be rooting for J.D. Woods either. I want Burress to make the team as well as our draft pick Justin Brown, if the Steelers keep 6 WRs, so I don’t see any room for him other than the PS.

  • JohnnyV1

    I was thinking 3 rookie free agents had a chance, but that list is the best of the lot. Although maybe the center from WVU makes a run now that Legursky signed with Buffalo, if he can plat guard. He has maybe as good of a chance as Golic.

  • Brendon Glad

    Thanks for the heads-up on the UFA’s. That’s my favorite part of August. Reading minutia from training camp about “flashers” and watching the second half of pre-season games to try to see if there are any James Harrison’s, Willie Parker’s, or numerous others to get excited about.
    The rest of the time is spent anxiously hoping the Reg season would get here…and biting nails through the first halves hoping no one gets seriously injured. It’s one of the only thing that makes me stay sane during August…so I’m glad to have a few names to watch even more closely.

  • Brendon Glad

    Those moments actually end up being quite memorable to me. I remember against Minnesota PS when Willie Parker went from after-thought…to me scrambling around the internet trying to figure out “Who the hell is this Parker kid…and what’s HIS story?” I did the same things for James Harrison, Leslie Shepard, Nate Washington, Stephan Logan, Chris Hoke, Ramon Foster, and Adrian Robinson among others.
    Since Colbert is AWESOME at the Rookie Free Agent game, you can have great confidence that there’s a diamond or 2 in there somewhere. And I love seeing it the day it first gets polished off.

  • Brendon Glad

    I’ll qualify it by saying I have not seen Dunn at all…but I agree with you Ray. I think if he shows fast improvement in catching punts (not easy, but still doable)…then all he will need is 1-3 major flashes as a returner to get a very long look…and 1-3 flashes as a WR to have extremely good odds.

    However, I still believe in Brown as an electric returner. I think we can throw away all of his stats from last year since the special teams blocking/illegal blocking was quite possibly the worst I’ve ever seen on a professional team. Let’s hope THAT will significantly improve so we can actually benefit from their skills with the ball.

  • Rob

    Last year we were out with a whimper, lets hope Long, Embernate and Golic make the team. The other Six Gilbert, Foster, Pouncey, DeCastro, Adams and Beechem. Nine linemen for the offense would be good to have. It would not be unreasonable to expect to have any two of them injured in a game and the possibility of having 4 injured at the same time is not unrealistic. Best to prepare for the worst and be able to deal with it when it happens.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    My top 5 with a chance of making team:

    #1 Luke Ingram: 50%. He was the #1 ranked LS in this years draft. He has a real shot at making this team

    #2 Nik Embernate: 35%. The Steelers are said to have gone after him 1st and the need is there. A spot is open he has to want it.

    #3 JD Woods: 20% He fits nicely into the Haley system and has a real shot if we keep 5 WR’s

    #4 Joe Madsen: 10%. C is another position needed for us. I do not see Madsen as starter material but he can be a solid back up for us.

    #5 Curtis McNeil: 5%. Most feel we will only have 4 HB’s on the team but the last few years we have kept 5 and I see that continueing. McNeil beats out Batch for the 5th spot is likely.

    Lots like Dunn I do not think he will do enough to make the squad on KR only.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    Embernate + Golic has to darn near equal to 100% as the eighth lineman who never dresses.

    Unless…the Steelers are watching the waiver wire…