Being as the Pittsburgh Steelers already have several experienced offensive linemen on their roster, it’s going to be tough for undrafted free agent Chris Elkins to make the team this year out of training camp. However, during the first three training camp practices, the western Pennsylvania native is getting noticed and he’s definitely in the running to make the eight man practice squad.
During Monday’s practice, several members of the media reported how good Elkins looked in the one-on-one blocking drills. He even stymied defensive end Cameron Heyward twice and showed good hand usage in the process, according to one Twitter report.
Elkins, a four-year starter at Youngstown State, is position flexible as he played both guard spots in addition to center during his college career. According to the school’s website, he played 717 snaps in 2013 and had just four missed assignments while not allowing a sack and only two quarterback hurries.
Thanks to a solid senior season, Elkins was named a second-team All-American by the Associated Press. He also received enough notoriety that it resulted in him playing in the East-West Shrine Game back in January.
According to his draft profile on NFL.com, Elkins posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.98 seconds and a three-cone drill time 7.33 seconds at his March pro day, and that would have led all guards this year at the 2014 NFL Combine. If he has one drawback, it’s the fact that he has short arms (30.5″).
Elkins reminds you a bit of former Steelers offensive lineman Doug Legursky. Like Elkins, Legursky signed originally with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent. While he failed to make the Steelers 53 man roster during his 2008 rookie season, Legursky showed enough to warrant him being signed to the practice squad. The following season, he made the final roster out of training camp and has been the league ever since.
While we have several more weeks to go in order to find out whether or not Elkins will follow the same path as Legursky did, he’s off to great start so far in training camp and he’s yet another young player to watch closely when the preseason games get underway.