Jake McGee Looks To Clear His Way To A Roster Spot

Jake McWho? Why, it’s Jake McGee, the rookie free agent tight end who helped power the Pittsburgh Steelers offense to a game-sealing touchdown in the second half of their victory last night during the preseason opener against the Giants. Or did you miss it?

McGee, who has only been in training camp for a short while after the Steelers waived fellow rookie free agent tight end Scott Orndoff with an injury at the beginning of August, was able to garner some playing time last night, and got the opportunity to be featured in a blocking role a few times, of which he took full advantage. I will say that he has gotten my attention.

At 6’5” and 252 pounds, McGee fits the tight end prototype, and his scouting report suggests that he should even have some good hands. He tested reasonably well in terms of athletics. But where he will earn his stripes if he has any future on the Steelers is as a blocker.

Frankly, the majority of the success that the team had running the ball late in the game was directly attributable to the Steelers giving McGee the opportunity to function in a lead role. The rookie tight end looked very effective running the team’s staple counter trap to the left, which they have used with particular effectiveness over the past few years.

Heath Miller was excellent in functioning as that lead pulling option on the sweep, typically to the left. Jesse James doesn’t even look as comfortable and fluid as does McGee running it. Frankly, I thought he was very impressive.

Not because of the results, but because of how he looked doing it. He looked comfortable, natural. He knew where he had to go and the angle at which he had to get there. His motions were fluid and quick. His initial lunge into the lead block was a powerful thrust.

Even in the few snaps that I revisited in which he was given an opportunity to run, he shows that he does have some legitimate athleticism. He is a bit quicker than he might look, and he gives the impression that he has something to work with in terms of the nuances of running routes and finding zone spots.

The bottom line is that McGee is decisively on my radar now as somebody that I look forward to seeing more of over the rest of the preseason. Dare I say that he could even potentially compete for a spot on the 53-man roster?

While I would like to see him get a few opportunities to catch the ball over the course of the next three games, what I really want to see is what he can contribute on special teams. A guy like Michael Palmer stuck on the team for two years as a fourth tight end because he could play there.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    interesting idea. lets see how it works out.

  • John Pennington

    The young man can block now throw some passes to him next week and see what he can do.

  • Thomas

    Could David Johnson get cut? he’s basically a fullback playing TE, Grimble had a nice TD grab so I see him sticking around

  • pittsburghjoe

    6’5″ is not a fullback. He may line up there, but that is a TE.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Right now; I’d say McGee just nudged Phazon Odom out of a practice squad spot. Liked what he did blocking; but not enough to threaten any of the 3 veteran tight ends.

  • Michael Conrad

    I liked what I saw he ran to the block at good but controlled speed. He made the block . Nice start we need to see more.

  • lonnie

    He got my attention on that play. I just saw a great block and wondered who threw it and than in the replay i saw it was him and thought maybe this guy should get some more looks. I like what I saw even if it was just one play.

  • capehouse

    Did you see DJ blocking last night? He’s a solid lock to make the 53.

  • Lambert58

    Why, it’s Jake McGee! lol Impressive block on the TD for sure.

  • nutty32

    Great call. McWho was talking care of fools all night & not just on the big TD run.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I think Grimble is a lot more vulnerable than Johnson.

  • Ray

    DJ is just under 6’2″ but has long arms.

  • John Pennington

    Like what Jake brings to the table,Like tosee him catch some from Ben.ONE of tightends could be in trouble of losing their job to Jake this could get real interesting.

  • Charles Mullins

    Tomlin didn’t say anything about xg in the post game…. mentioned jm twice.

  • Jim Foles

    Football iq and some goods hands will get him his spot

  • Jim Foles

    Special teams too…

  • Jim Foles

    So when dj is in its a run play?

  • Matthew Marczi

    No, but by the end of last season when they were committed to running the ball, they had a package that featured Johnson as the lone tight end.

  • capehouse

    I don’t think that would be a great strategy.