Odds Each of the Pittsburgh Steelers' Undrafted Free Agents Makes the Roster

Nick DeWittAnalyst IMay 31, 2012

Odds Each of the Pittsburgh Steelers' Undrafted Free Agents Makes the Roster

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    Undrafted free agents have long been a source of unexpected success for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Isaac Redman, Ryan Clark and James Harrison, three current starters, were undrafted out of college. There's no guarantee that any of the current crop can crack the final roster, but there's also no guarantee none of them will.

    Some of them even have a pretty good chance.

    Here's a look at the odds for each player.

Drew Butler, P, Georgia

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    Our first player is someone who really has a great chance to make the roster. Punter is an easier place to compete when there's no clear leader. Jeremy Kapinos is still on the roster and coming off his second straight solid relief appearance for the Steelers.

    Butler is a better directional guy and has a leg that is at least as strong if not stronger than Kapinos'.

    It's tough to predict without seeing them each do this in a game, but I like Butler better right now. On paper, he's the more complete player and he's younger. That doesn't matter so much at punter, but could be in consideration if they finish in a dead heat.

     

    Odds He'll Make the Roster

    I'm going to lean heavily in his favor at about 80 percent.

Terry Carter, CB, Louisiana Tech

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    Carter had a nice career at Louisiana Tech and had a great senior season with 10 passes defended and 60 tackles. Those are good numbers and they fit the profile of what the Steelers need in a corner.

    The problem that Carter seems to have is that he's much better defending the run than the pass (something that was a bit of a trend with Louisiana Tech's defense overall). He can be beaten by a good move from a receiver.

    The good news is that he has the speed to close on a player running down the field. That's important, but ideally he wouldn't be put into chase mode at all.

    Given that there are likely only one or two open roster spots at cornerback, Carter is going to have to have a huge camp and preseason to even get in the conversation. He is in the mix, especially if we're talking about two spots.

     

    Odds He'll Make the Roster

    I'd put it at about 45 percent.

Connor Dixon, WR, Duquesne

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    Dixon was a first team NEC wide receiver in 2011, his sixth year with the local Duquesne Dukes. He had a nice career at a really small school.

    While with the Dukes, Dixon showed good speed and hands and he distinguished himself repeatedly with big game catches. He was the team's best offensive weapon and was good in various different types of receiving routes.

    How he fits with the Steelers is still a question. Dixon has skill, but the jump from the NEC to the NFL is a giant one. Dixon must show he can gain separation from professional defenders and that he can break through tackles and make plays.

    While he has the skills as a receiver, I'm not so sure he has the pedigree an NFL receiver requires. There's a plethora of competition as well and plenty of more suitable players.

     

    Odds He Makes the Roster

    Sorry, kid. I don't see it. I would say less than 10 percent.

Andre Freeman, CB, Slippery Rock

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    Freeman is another small school player, this time from Slippery Rock University located an hour or so north of Pittsburgh. Whether he can make the climb up the ladder at corner is an interesting question.

    Here's what we know about Freeman. He's a hitter. He hits with the ferocity of Ryan Clark. He also makes great plays and can be a dynamic corner. He was probably better than you'd think coming out of a small school. Those players don't get drafted often because they don't get the chance to be noticed.

    Freeman was added late, but that shouldn't hurt too much. I could see him catching on in the Anthony Madison role of special teams kamikaze who can play a little defense. He has the skill to do more eventually if he develops, but he has to adjust to this level of play.

     

    Odds He Makes the Roster

    Let's give him a 50 percent chance. He's an interesting player.

Robert Golden, S, Arizona

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    Golden originally started out as a cornerback, but he moved to safety before the 2009 season began. He has been a steady player throughout his college career and ranked in the middle of the pack for safeties in this draft class.

    The problem I see with Golden is that the Steelers already have four safeties who are all but guaranteed spots on their roster. They don't figure to keep a fifth. Maybe Golden can shift out to corner and catch some reps there, but he's in a tough spot.

    The other thing I dislike about Golden is that he's not particularly fast. The Steelers depend on their safeties to be speedy enough to get into the backfield. He doesn't fit well into that description either.

     

    Odds He Makes the Roster

    He's another likely goner. We'll put them at less than 10 percent.

Daniel Hrapmann, PK, Southern Mississippi

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    I expected that the Steelers would go out and get some competition for Shaun Suisham after he was only so-so last season. He's been OK over a year and a half, but he hasn't been spectacular enough to warrant a guaranteed roster spot.

    I don't think Hrapmann is that challenger, however. Unless he has a spectacular campaign, he's going to have a hard time overcoming a set of mediocre statistics in college. He made less than 70 percent of his kicks. That's not a recipe for success.

    The Steelers almost always bring in a camp kicker to split the duty and keep the regular guy fresh. That's his role. If he made the roster, it would be a tremendous upset.

     

    Odds He Makes the Roster

    I wouldn't give him higher than 1 percent odds.

Ikponmwosa Igbinosun, DE, Southern Connecticut State

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    You can also just call him Ike. That might be much easier. If this guy makes the roster, he'll be the next in a long line of odd names to find their way into black and gold uniforms.

    Igbinosun is from another small school, but he has some excellent skills and could find a home in the NFL if those translate. He is extremely athletic for a defensive end and he can jump. He has good burst and quickness as well.

    It's going to be a climb, but the Steelers ostensibly have an opening now that Aaron Smith has retired. If they have one area where they could afford to keep a guy active and let him grow, it's there.

    I also like the fact that he can jump. That will help him since he could be on special teams for the field goal blocks or even with his speed on the coverage units. There's plenty to like here.

     

    Odds He Makes the Roster

    I'll say he has a decent chance at about 60 percent.

Ryan Lee, OL, Furman

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    Lee is yet another small school prospect. Furman does play some games against the big guns, but for the most part, it isn't a major college football power. The school does have some decent players, and one of them is Ryan Lee.

    I like the versatility. Lee can slot in at center or guard. The Steelers haven't had a true backup center in a long time and might be looking for one as Doug Legursky has become more valuable at guard.

    Lee is a solid technical player and he doesn't make mental mistakes. How he operates in an NFL system is anyone's guess, but he has the tools to be successful at this level.

    While the practice squad is more likely, the final roster is possible. The Steelers have shown a willingness to think outside the box with their offensive line. Keeping an undrafted rookie would be more of the same.

     

    Odds He Makes the Roster

    They aren't great, but not bad either. Let's say 30 percent.

Brandon Lindsey, LB, Pittsburgh

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    Lindsey is another guy who finds himself in a crowded position on the depth chart. The Steelers are set at linebacker for starters and for backups. Lindsey is a nice prospect piece, but him cracking the roster is going to be a gargantuan task.

    He does have skills. Like another rookie, Sean Spence, Lindsey is a great situational player. He is a great rusher and he has the skills to really disrupt the play in the backfield. He played in a good defensive front at Pittsburgh, but he made a lot of individual plays as well.

    The trick with Lindsey is proving he's valuable on special teams. Like Lee, he's a player I see as a likely practice squad addition, but not much for the active roster at this point.

     

    Odds He Makes the Roster

    We'll put them at around 25 percent.

Marquis Maze, WR, Alabama

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    Of the team's undrafted free agents, he's probably the best known. Playing for a national champion will do that for you. He also played well there. In some ways, I'm surprised he wasn't drafted in the seven-round draft.

    Maze has some potential for the roster. He is a playmaking receiver that reminds me of a poor man's Antonio Brown. He runs good routes and can make any catch required of an NFL receiver.

    He isn't technically sound, which is probably what damaged his draft stock in addition to being at a position that was flush with talent this year. That's nothing surprising for a rookie receiver. He wouldn't be expected to contribute right away anyway.

    I think Maze is a prime candidate to be on this team in some fashion, although given the competition at receiver he may have to start out on the squad.

     

    Odds He Makes the Roster

    I'll give him 50 percent odds, but I'm leaning on the under.

Adrian Robinson, LB, Temple

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    We've covered the team's situation at linebacker already. Robinson is another guy who played at a top-level program (at least for divisions, not success). He's another guy who'll have a devil of a time making this team.

    Robinson is an interesting player at linebacker. He hits well and is tenacious, something that the team looks for in developing linebackers. He fits the inside position best given size and style of play. That might seem to give him a better chance.

    The issue is that I don't see him as being as polished as even Brandon Lindsey. With the team giving Larry Foote a long, long look this year as a possible starter, that takes away a roster spot that might have been had if the team viewed Foote as over the hill.

    Robinson and Lindsey will likely battle it out for a practice squad spot.

     

    Odds He Makes the Roster

    I would put the odds for him at around 20 percent.

Jake Stoller, DE, Yale

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    Another talented defensive end, Stoller is in a better position than most of the people on this list. He's a smart player and he has excellent athleticism. That's something that is useful at a defensive end position.

    The issue is that I think he might be better suited to a 4-3 system given that athleticism. The Steelers don't employ their ends as sack masters or major rushers. They are used to open up some holes and let the linebackers do the hunting.

    That doesn't mean Stoller wouldn't be valuable, just that I don't think his style or skill set is particularly a good fit in Pittsburgh.

     

    Odds He Makes the Roster

    We'll put the odds at around 30 percent in case he surprises us.