5 practice squad players the Steelers need to poach in 2021

Defensive end Bradlee Anae #56 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Defensive end Bradlee Anae #56 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
5 of 5
Dallas Cowboys defensive end Bradlee Anae (56) Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports /

Steelers should poach Anae

The Steelers had one of the strongest edge groups at the beginning of the year, but with Melvin Ingram traded and a laundry list of injuries to the starters, this group has really suffered. With T.J. Watt now on the Covid list, the team will once again be short a player there and will need to add another body to the roster at some point. Bradlee Anae was one of the sleeper edge rushers in the draft last year and would be a good depth piece for this group.

Anae enjoyed a successful career at Utah before posting a strong 13 sacks as a senior. His athletic testing caused him to fall to the fifth round, but he saw the field in seven games as a rookie and four this year before being waived. He was fine as a rotational defender, but he is more of an upside add as opposed to an established guy. He can chip in on special teams though, meaning that he would have a role on the team if he were added.

While Taco Charlton has been the primary backup and has been fine in that role, Derrick Tuzaka has been below average as a defender. Anae could fight with him for the fourth helmet on gamedays while being a core special teams’ player. Next season he can fight for the third edge rusher role. He is an intriguing name that the Steelers could use given how thin their depth at edge has gotten.

4 takeaways from the Steelers pathetic showing vs Bengals. light. Must Read

While the Steelers may still be in the playoff hunt on paper, it seems unlikely that the team will truly compete given their current struggles and the difficulty with the remainder of the year. Poaching some young practice squad talent makes sense at this point. These players are unproven but would be carried into camp next season. Long-term, adding some young talent off other practice squads can strengthen this roster for the future.