Steelers 2022 undrafted free agents: Who will stay and who will go?

Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Donovan Jeter (66). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Donovan Jeter (66). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Pittsburgh Steelers have some intriguing undrafted free agents this year. Here are the players who could stick around long-term.

Though I can’t find the quote there’s a saying, ‘A team is only as good as the back of its roster’. If you watch any football team, anywhere, any season you can see this is true. Even if your starting lineup is solid and you have good reserve players as the season goes on injuries pile up.

The two main injury groups always seem to be the offensive and defensive line. The next group is running backs and linebackers. This makes sense since these are the high collision groups. The injuries don’t end there, though, and there are always unexpected, sometime season-ending injuries in every group.

This is one of the reasons the back end of the Draft and free-agent signings are so important. The Steelers are generally good but not great at signing undrafted free agents. The UDFA signing process has been called ‘The Wild, Wild West’ by Jason La Canfora. Teams can contact players they think will go undrafted at any time during the draft. The high-priority free agents always get signed quickly.

This year the Steelers did a good job with six out of the ten signings looking like they might have a future in the NFL. For the most part, you’re not expecting any of the UDFAs to make a big splash. Sometimes you can find a starter. On rare occasions, lightning strikes and you find a star.

Much more often you’re looking for players to be developed on the practice squad and to contribute as reserves. It doesn’t mean they’re not important. When the injuries pile up these players may be the difference “between winnin’ and losin’, between livin’ and dyin’!” Cue the rest of Tony D’Amato’s ‘Any Given Sunday’ locker room speech.

Given all that, I don’t give grades on UDFA signings. I tend to break them down according to if they’ll get cut when they’ll get cut or if they have a chance of making the practice squad or roster. However, there are some players in this batch who may have starter potential with some development.