The Pittsburgh Steelers have certainly had their fair share of undrafted free agent players contribute over the years. In fact, nose tackle Steve McLendon and guard Ramon Foster will both start for the Steelers in 2013, and both were originally signed by the Steelers after going undrafted.
Former Steelers linebacker James Harrison beat the odds several years ago when he finally made the roster and registered 64 regular-season sacks during his time in Pittsburgh. And who can forget what running back Willie Parker accomplished?
As the Steelers head into training camp this year, the 90 man roster includes 16 players who went undrafted back in April with offensive linemen Nik Embernate and Mike Golic Jr. being the most notable of the bunch.
So what kind of odds is this year\’s group of undrafted players facing in regard to making the final 53 man roster out of training camp?
Dating back to the 2000 season, only 18 players have made the Steelers opening-day roster in their first year out of college and below is that list.
5 of those 18 players were linebackers while 3 more were offensive linemen.
Just last year, the Steelers had three of their undrafted free agents make the opening week roster as safety Robert Golden, linebacker Adrian Robinson and punter Drew Butler showed enough during training camp and the preseason to warrant them making the final cut.
There has been a lot of talk about kick returner Reggie Dunn this past offseason, but he would be only the second undrafted wide receiver to make a Steelers opening week roster dating back to 2000 should he manage to make himself indispensable over the course of the next several weeks. Sure, Stefan Logan made the Steelers opening week roster back in 2009 as a return specialist, but he came into the league originally with the Miami Dolphins in 2007.
In short, this year\’s crop of undrafted free agents face really long odds. Embernate and Golic perhaps have the best chance of the group and let\’s not forget about long snapper Luke Ingram, who is attempting to unseat Greg Warren, who made the team in 2005 out of training camp as an undrafted free agent.
Rookie Undrafted Players That Made Week 1 Roster (2000-2012)
2000 – FB Dan Kreider, S Ainsley Battles, LB Donnel Thompson
2001 – G Keydrick Vincent, NT Chris Hoke, LB Justin Kurpeikis
2002 – None
2003 – None
2004 – RB Willie Paker
2005 – WR Nate Washington, LB Andre Frazier, LS Greg Warren
2006 – None
2007 – RB Gary Russell, G Darnell Stapleton
2008 – LB Donovan Woods
2009 – G Ramon Foster
2010 – None
2011 – TE Weslye Saunders
2012 – S Robert Golden, LB Adrian Robinson, P Drew Butler