Steelers Host Three Defensive Players For Pre-Draft Visits On Wednesday

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now in the process of closing out their 2017 pre-draft visitors and on Wednesday they hosted three defensive players.

According to Bob Labriola of steelers.com, Utah edge-rusher Pita Taumoepenu and Georgia Tech defensive ends Francis Kallon and Patrick Gamble are all visiting with the team on Wednesday.

Taumoepenu, who measured in at the scouting combine at 6012, 243-pounds, ran the 40-yard-dash in 4.67 seconds. He recorded 73 total tackles to go along with 21.5 sacks in the 46 games that he played at Utah that included him starting just seven times as he was mostly used as a pass rushing specialist. There’s a decent chance he goes undrafted.

As for Kallon, he measures in at 6-5, 294-pounds. He recorded 37 total tackles in the 34 games he played in at Georgia Tech and that included two sacks in 2016. Kallon was named the overall lineman MVP of the Tropical Bowl. He will more than likely go undrafted this year.

Gamble, who measures in at 6-4, 277-pounds, recorded 123 total tackles in the 46 career games that he played in at Georgia Tech and that included 8.5 sacks. Gamble, like the other two players who visited on Wednesday, could ultimately wind up going undrafted.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Wow. No offense but I can’t believe they just used 3 of their 30 visits on these 3 guys.

  • Spencer Krick

    More D-Lineman and no RBs or TEs.

    Interesting.

  • mike

    So olb, 5-tech, and an elephant? Lol

  • Jeff Papiernik

    Yawn

  • Brian Tollini

    Dave, question I have always been curious about (and it looks like “StarSpangledSteeler” is thinking the same thing). When you are limited to only 30 pre-draft visitors, why not use them on players of higher value? I understand that where you are drafted doesn’t define your career, but why not focus the majority of your attention to guys that most likely will be the foundation of your team?

  • SteelersDepot

    You want visits with players you want to learn more about and that includes all rounds and even potential undrafteds. They probably have a good idea as to which players they are targeting in each round and thus probably makes no sense to visit with players they know enough about already and those you aren’t likely to have a shot at.

    ETA: I’s guess their big board includes 100-150 names FWIW

  • falconsaftey43

    I believe they largely use pre-draft visits to look at guys they need a better feel for. Tomlin/Colbert go to all the big pro days. Not a lot of reason to bring one of those guys in for a visit if you’ve seen them work out in person and got a chance to have a good talk with them already. Bring in the guys from smaller schools, pro days you missed, or guys with questions you need answered (medical, character, football smarts).

  • Steelers12

    i agree, maybe they thinking if they show interest now the 3 will take this in consideration when signing undrafted

  • Steelers12

    i guess because those positions are so deep

  • Klacker1

    The short answer to your question is that they spread over all of the rounds to be sure they have talked to someone they like in each round. Colbert has said they rarely draft anyone they haven’t talked to. The longer answer is that along with trying to match needs, one of the big issues with the draft is the sheer number of variables, most notably, not knowing what player will be available when you are ready to pick. If you chart the Steelers pre-draft visitors (and maybe add in the players that have had multiple contacts or dinners with Tomlin/Colbert and private workouts) you see things a bit more clearly. First, sort by position and you see where their emphasis is likely to be to fill needs. Then sort by the rounds projected for their picks. What you can extrapolate is how they have the players ranked that fit their needs/scheme. With that in mind, you will see that these visits are spread over rounds 1 through Undrafted and are the players the Steelers have the most interest in. Note that since 2008 (when I started to track it), the pre-draft visitor list ends up yielding 3-6 of the players they draft. The multiple contacts piece also adds 1-2 more each years. Colbert has said they rarely draft anyone they haven’t talked to.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    It’s an interesting thought. The Steelers are not known for signing the “best” UDFA’s after the draft. They usually get beat out by more desperate teams. Maybe this will help.

    I just thought the Steelers might want bring in a few guys like Jordan Willis OLB or Tarrell Basham or Kevin King CB or Adoree Jackson CB. They must feel confident about their evaluations (having never met them).

  • John

    The guy from Utah may be the seventh round pick if we have one.

  • Steelers12

    Yes we have one, he is a pass rushing specialist so he is needed

  • Steelers12

    Im surprised about basham as well, i must say alot of those undrafted free agents people clamor for usually don’t live up to their perceived hype

  • Ace

    Couple guys I have trusted for evaluations for years, one of which lurks here every so often, says Pita has the best get off in the draft. Pure first step. I haven’t watched much tape on Pita, but I can count on him to do his homework. Played pretty light in at Utah, put on some weight for the combine and still was super fast/flexy. 6.91 3 cone is outstanding at 243lb. Excited to hear his name come in and he could be a perfect 7th rounder or priority UDFA. Dude is just a pure get-after-the-QB guy at this point. Would love to see a Profile on him (Depot might be the first to) , but wouldn’t be surprised if not considering his round grade.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    EXcellent. They are preparing to draft others and DE may not get addressed at all in the draft unless someone seems too amazing to pass up. They are trying to prepare for everything. The potential Elephant position or the OLB who is a part time pass rushing specialist? Brilliant. There are guys that have careers in the NFL only because they can come in on 3rd and long and routinely disrupt the QB.

    Could a UDFA become that guy? Highly unlikely, yet a guy like James Harrison was able to do that and much more. Last year they signed up some Canadians to tryouts and they looked decent in camp. Good. No stone unturned.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Thanks for the info.

  • capehouse

    Yup looking more and more like we’ll pass on those positions in the draft. I understand not taking a TE but a RB? Do they really have that much confidence in Fitz and Davis?

  • Boots

    Giving us a glimpse at what our UDFA signings might look like

  • capehouse

    Really like both Georgia Tech guys as UDFAs that could come in and compete as DEs. Practice squad at best, but they have good length for the position.

  • george

    Well, if they pass on a TE that tells us they have confidence in Green, which is a good thing.

  • Jake Caruso

    Where do you get that the Steelers don’t sign any of the best UDFA’s?

  • capehouse

    Every year they invite prospects ranging from 1st rd to UDFA projections.

  • T3xassteelers

    Why waste these visits?

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    What’s your point?

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Years of watching. Every year, right after the draft ends, different sites post rankings of the top 5 undrafted players. I don’t ever recall the Steelers getting one of them.

  • capehouse

    You made it sound like you thought these were wasted invites. I was guessing that was based on their UDFA projection. They invite a handful of guys every year that wind up not being drafted, so it’s common to see players like this invited. Make more sense, or you more at odds with the positions?

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    1) I guess, to me, I’d rather bring the UDFA’s in for a visit AFTER the draft. And then just sign them on the spot.

    2) You only get 30 visits. I understand spending a couple visits on the late round guys but by my count this makes 4 undrafted guys. Kind of excessive imo even if it is a Steelers pattern.

    3) The Steelers have literally scoured the earth for edge rushers and CB’s in this pre-draft season. Willis and Basham are very high rated edge prospects. King and Jackson are very high rated CB’s. Why not meet with them?

    Perhaps they already have a solid scouting report on each? I just find it very surprising the Steelers would pass up an opportunity to interview them in order to interview two guys who would likely not even make our roster.

    4) I absolutely agree on the positions they are scouting, BTW. I would not be at all surprised to see the Steelers double dip at both OLB and CB.

  • SoCal Steeler

    I always think the same thing. I see those rankings and and say I hope we get this guy or that guy but we never do. Although two years ago B.J. Finney was ranked as the top OL available and one of the other OL guys we signed was No.2 but didn’t pan out.
    I do think that they try to get their foot in the door for UDFA’s with bringing some of these guys in.
    I do think Taumoepenu will likely get drafted in the 6-7 th Rds. I remember seeing his numbers and movement skills at the Combine and thinking this guy has some skills. I hope they’re looking at some other Utah guys toi, they have some talent coming out this year.

  • LucasY59

    I have been interested in Pita for awhile now, could be a nice late rd option or UDFA, good athlete, definitely worth signing if he goes undrafted

  • LucasY59

    draft has 7 rds, sometimes its more important to get information on lesser knowns guys, the big name guys they already know a lot about and can meet at prodays and the combine, these other guys not so much, so even though there are definitely guys that arent going to get picked early it is still worth bringing them in, if the team is seriously interested in them

  • LucasY59

    if they pass on drafting a RB it should make D-lo a little happier, but regardless of if they draft one, Williams should be getting a call May 1st (or even April 29-30th) not sure if they can count on a rookie and there is a good chance a RB other than Bell could see some significant snaps in a game or more this season

  • LucasY59

    I was really mad a couple yrs ago when La’el Collins wasnt signed, but I think Jerry mightve done some under the table kind of offer

  • T3xassteelers

    That makes sense, just seems like they’d use almost all their resources on top 4 round guys since they’re the most valuable which obviously never happens

  • LucasY59

    there is always a reason for why they werent picked, most prove the reasons to be true, and only a few (like Deebo) prove them false,

    even guys that end up being good enough to make the roster are usually only depth guys (Golden, Dangerfield, Finney, Grimble, Nix, Rogers, Toussaint) but the few who start are definitely a bonus (Foster, Villanueva)

    looking at roster there are 10 guys that werent drafted that made the team last yr, so there is some value to signing good undrafted players

  • capehouse

    Well, most UDFAs are on the phone with teams during the 7th round, maybe sooner, and are signed in the hours immediately after the draft. They get to choose between teams depending on interest, so visits are a great way of getting to know them and sway their decision.

  • Trevor

    It could be that they had a couple of their lead scouts meet with the guys you’re talking about, and they have full confidence in their judgement and see no benefit in bringing them in as a pre-draft visit. People always say “the draft is won and lost on day 3.” If they don’t show the late round guys much attention you’re gonna miss on someone that turns out to be a difference maker. Additionally, not uncommon to hear players getting drafted by teams that they didn’t think had shown any interest in them.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I ABSOLUTELY expect that Jerry did something under the table. (And that is with no evidence on my part whatsoever. Just intuition.)

  • Shane Mitchell

    I dont think Pita will go undrafted his combine numbers were excellent especially the 3 cone, his stock has gone up since the combine.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Yep. You only get 30 visits, plus locals. It drives me personally a bit nuts to see them bring in around 6-7 guys or so, that may very well go undrafted. If you think they may be 6th or 7th round guys that you may select, okay, I can kind of see the point. But likely UDFA’s? I just don’t see the point. You can do your research on guys who are of that ilk, without bringing them in for a visit. Talk about a crapshoot when you get to those guys. Yes, there have been some gems unearthed from that lot, even here in Pittsburgh, but it’s so rare anymore. But I suppose since there aren’t 17 rounds anymore…..

  • Darth Blount 47

    Agreed

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Why would we spend 3 draft visits on guys thought to be UDFA’s? My thoughts is that they probably are not UDFA’s.

  • T3xassteelers

    Yup.. That’s my thought process. These guys likely won’t make a roster anyways.. But hey, they know more than I do

  • Jim Foles

    Finney should be starting.

  • Terrible Towlie

    smokescreen

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Jake-

    Now that we’ve seen the post draft process play out, you can see how the top 20 UDFA’s have all signed elsewhere.

    None of the guys like Javancy Jones and Lorenzo Jerome sigedn with the Steelers. Our best signing was probably: Francis Kallon DE Georgia Tech who might compete for a practice spot.

    THIS is what I was talking about 3 weeks ago. And it’s not just this year. It happens nearly every year. It’s just a pattern I’ve noticed.