What Hakeem Butler must do to make the Steelers roster in 2023

Steelers, Hakeem Butler
Steelers, Hakeem Butler / Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers fans were excited when the team decided to make Hakeem Butler a rookie minicamp invite. Butler showed up to the facility and participated on a tryout basis. Just days later, the XFL star officially signed a contract with the Steelers.

The XFL was pleased to make the announcement on Tuesday evening. Butler was a former fourth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft who quickly fell out of favor with the Cardinals and Eagles. Now he will have another chance in the NFL on a training camp roster.

Butler was one of the stars of the XFL during the 2023 season -- recording 51 receptions for 599 yards and 8 touchdowns, per XFL.com stats. Now he will look to carry his impressive play over to the Steelers this summer.

Getting a contract from the Pittsburgh Steelers is great, but Hakeem Butler still has a massive uphill battle to make the 53-man roster this year. While Pittsburgh didn't draft a receiver this year, they traded for one this offseason and are getting two others back from IR.

Currently, this is a relatively deep group that consists of George Pickens, Diontae Johnson, Allen Robinson II, Calvin Austin III, Miles Boykin, Anthony Miller, and Gunner Olszewski. Considering that the Steelers rarely keep more than six receivers on the final roster, one of these players will already be out of a job.

It gets even more complicated when you add Butler to the mix. Where does he fit in exactly?

How can Hakeem Butler make the final Steelers roster?

One of Hakeem Butler's best traits is his ability to box out defenders and win in traffic. At 6'5 5/8'' and 227 pounds with massive 35 1/4'' arms, Butler has an insane catch radius. This can help him win both on the outside and as a big slot.

Unfortunately, Butler is going to have to do much more than impress on offense to make the Steelers final roster. Because the team already has a handful of players ahead of him with job security, the XFL star is going to have to humble himself in the NFL and show that he can carve out a role on special teams. This is going to be a big challenge.

In his limited time in the NFL, Butler only managed 29 total special teams snaps. In comparison, Miles Boykin has logged 624 special teams snaps and Gunner Olszewski has played 578 snaps on special teams. Ironically, all three of these players initially entered the NFL back in 2019, and the latter two have a big leg up on Butler in this department.

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Impressing in this area is going to be a major challenge, but it may be necessary to make the Steelers roster for the 2023 season. Perhaps Butler can 'wow' the coaching staff so much on offense that the team will look to other wide receivers to fill special teams roles. However, we know that he will have to work his way from the bottom to have a chance. He needs to be a star at Steelers training camp to stick around.