Steelers roster: What to expect from new DT Breiden Fehoko

Steelers, Breiden Fehoko
Steelers, Breiden Fehoko / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

Just before the start of April, the Pittsburgh Steelers made their free agent signings list just a bit longer. After adding cornerback, linebacker, and offensive line help on the open market, Omar Khan signed defensive tackle, Breiden Fehoko.

This is a name that isn't very well known around the football community. Fehoko joined the Chargers as an undrafted free agent following the 2020 NFL Draft. In his first season, his contract was terminated before being elevated back to the roster for two games, per Over the Cap. The Chargers essentially repeated the process with him over the past two seasons.

Now as a member of the Steelers, fans want to know what they are getting out of their newest addition. So what will Breiden Fehoko offer in 2023?

Fehoko isn't guaranteed to make Steelers roster

If you were looking for someone who could be a significant step up from Tyson Alualu or Montravius Adams at the nose tackle position for Pittsburgh, don't hold your breath. While Fehoko is known for his ability to plug holes and defend the run, the results have been pretty underwhelming early in his career.

Fehoko has started just 4 of the 19 games he has appeared in over the past three seasons -- earning 23 tackles during this time, according to ESPN stats. Sadly, his play is void of any sort of splash. On 420 career defensive snaps, Fehoko has just 1 tackle for a loss and 0 sacks.

Last year, Fehoko earned 177 snaps on running plays and 131 snaps on passing downs, per Pro Football Focus. However, he recorded an overall grade of just 49.2 -- good for 102nd out of 127 qualifying interior defenders. Even though he's known for stuffing the run, he had a run defense grade of just 50.0 last year and has never earned higher than a 51.6 overall grade in any of his three seasons.

This pretty much falls in line with the underwhelming play and run defense we witnessed at the nose tackle position from the Steelers in 2022. At 6'2'' and 291 pounds, Fehoko doesn't even have great size or girth to dominate at the point of attack.

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This is strictly a depth signing for Pittsburgh as Breiden Fehoko isn't guaranteed to make the final roster in September. The Steelers will carry him on the 90-man roster throughout the summer to see what he offers. If he does land a roster spot, his role on the team in 2023 will likely be very limited and restricted to running downs.