Keith Srakocic/Associated Press
Josh Mauro was one of the top undrafted free-agent signings in the entire NFL.
Now we will focus on some of the intriguing names of the undrafted free-agent class. The first name on the list is C.J. Goodwin.
Goodwin is a 6’3” and 190-pound wide receiver who played at the California University of Pennsylvania last year. He mainly played special teams and had only 11 receptions for 131 yards. Typically, that doesn’t get you a look from the NFL, but a recommendation from Hall of Famer Mel Blount and a strong workout will, per Alex Nieves of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Said Blount:
When I called Kevin Colbert, I said, 'This kid, you need to take a look at him.' I've never called the Steelers and said, 'Here's somebody you all should take a look at,' because that's not what I do. But this kid, I'm willing to put my name and reputation out there because he's an athlete, he can play and he's a good kid. It's more than just your ability to play and your talent. It's also about your character.
Goodwin will not make it into the top five, six or even seven wide receivers by the end of camp, but with a strong showing, he will have a strong chance to stick on the practice squad. Receivers with his height and speed (4.41 in the 40-yard dash) are not easy to come by, so he would be worth developing.
Another physical specimen who will turn some heads is Howard Jones from Division II Shepherd. As another small-school product, Jones will have to rely on his tremendous athletic ability (4.54 seconds in the 40-yard dash) and lack of depth at outside linebacker to make a push for the 53-man roster.
Though he is unlikely to make the team, he has enough upside to make him a player to watch. According to Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Jones had 34.5 sacks, 71 tackles for loss, eight forced fumbles and four blocked kicks in his career.
Making the jump from such a small school to the NFL will be a challenging one. One of Jones’ biggest obstacles will be mastering Dick LeBeau’s defense. Until he does so, he will have to use his natural talents to rush the quarterback and show that he can play on special teams.
The most likely undrafted free agent to make the team is Josh Mauro, a defensive end from Stanford.
ESPN.com’s Scott Brown identified Mauro as an undrafted free agent to watch because of the Steelers’ need for depth at defensive end. He was NFL.com's Gil Brandt's third-rated defensive end available after the draft and was identified as one of the top-10 undrafted free-agent signings by NFL.com’s Bryan Fischer:
George Uko out of USC might have been the higher profile Pac-12 undrafted free agent along the defensive line, but Mauro could be the one who has the better NFL career if things break his way. He's certainly got the size and motor to be an end in a 3-4 and could wind up taking over for Brett Keisel down the road if he sticks with the Steelers.
The 6’6” and 282-pound Mauro will look to follow in the footsteps of Orpheus Roye and Brett Keisel. Both were athletic defensive end prospects who made an impact on special teams early in their careers before developing into quality starters.