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Would New USFL Players Aid Steelers Roster in 2022?

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Would New USFL Players Aid Steelers Roster in 2022?

The jig is up, and the news is out that the Pittsburgh Steelers are continuing their search in adding more depth to the roster on both sides of the ball. The team did well in the 2022 NFL Draft, and have signed many great players in free agency, most recently inking defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi on a one-year deal. Trading for someone isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility, but it doesn’t appear to be the route Omar Khan and the rest of the front office is planning to pursue. Instead of continuing to look within the realm of the NFL, perhaps it’s time to think outside of the box, and look outside the league itself at the prospects in the USFL.

 

Looking Outside the Box for Offensive Boost?

While many people feel that the players in the USFL aren’t exactly “NFL ready,” that is simply not the case. Regardless of the team they play for, there are many capable athletes that could be serious competitors in making an NFL roster, including Pittsburgh. On the offensive side of the ball, the Steelers should continue to add linemen depth. The team already has great pieces returning from last season and they have added more talent in free agency. It’s still a possibility to get a guaranteed Pro Bowl caliber player, say a Tyron Smith, but at the risk of losing valuable draft capital in any form of a trade. Maybe it would be more fruitful to take a chance on guys like right tackle Calvin Ashley, right guard Garrett McGhin, or center Jake Lacina.

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Twitter: Calvin Ashley (@ca70_)

These three men were instrumental in helping the New Jersey Generals lead the USFL in rushing. With a stud running back in Najee Harris, it would make the most sense to build up the O-line and develop an efficient run game as quick as possible for the Steelers.

On the topic of Harris, there is still a question as to who will be the clear-cut secondary ball carrier to help lighten Harris’ workload. Names like Benny Snell, Anthony McFarland, and even Mataeo Durant have come up in conversation, but none have currently been made official yet. With the spot still up in the air, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to put a flyer out on Reggie Corbin of the Michigan Panthers. Over a seven-game stretch, Corbin rushed for 513 yards on 81 attempts, which averages out to be a little over six yards-per-carry. It’s stats like these that could make for an interesting training camp should the Steelers come knocking on Corbin’s door. While the above-mentioned players would be beneficial additions, they can only play one side of the ball. Luckily, the USFL also has star power on defense.

 

Defensive Diamonds in The Rough?

Pittsburgh already has some key pieces on defense to build around, but that doesn’t mean that more talent and depth would be unwelcome. One player that has that “hidden gem” moniker is cornerback Channing Stribling of the Philadelphia Stars.

Twitter @C_Strib8

Stribling has had some NFL experience, spending time on multiple practice squads including the Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Chargers, however, he unfortunately was unable to make the final roster for any team. He would spend time in both the CFL and XFL before making his debut in the USFL in 2022. Stribling kicked off the season by having four interceptions in four games. He would end the year as the league leader in interceptions with seven total. As far as the USFL was concerned, Stribling was the best corner in the league. With the departure of elite shut-down corner Joe Haden this off-season, the Steelers would be remiss if they let an opportunity like this pass them by. While adding more to the secondary is one piece to the puzzle, there is another area of concern that should be the team’s primary focus, namely pass rushers.

The team may have reigning Defensive Player of the Year TJ Watt and rising star Alex Highsmith, but these two alone won’t be able to carry the load over the course of a 17-game regular season. This is where players such as Chris Odom of the Houston Gamblers and Davin Bellamy of the New Orleans Breakers could really make some noise. Both men were practice squad players for various NFL teams, with Odom being able to crack the 53-man roster for the Green Bay Packers in 2017 and the then Washington Redskins in 2019. Odom stands out more with his league leading 12.5 sacks, 43 total tackles, (eight of which were for a loss), and six forced fumbles.

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That’s not to say that gap between him and Bellamy is lightyears apart, as Bellamy was still listed in the top five in the league for sacks with 5.5 and was accredited for 40 tackles on the season as well.

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theusfl.com

Whether Pittsburgh goes after one, if not both players, they each should provide a good balance of elite edge depth.

The USFL will officially conclude its season on July 3, after crowning their first champion. Once that happens, players on all teams will be free to explore the NFL landscape and see if there are any potential suitors in need of their services. If the Steelers want to continue to stay competitive in the modern-day NFL, as they have for decades, they must continue to find ways to add talent to their roster. Sometimes that talent can be found in the unlikeliest of places.

 

What do you think? Should Pittsburgh bring in guys from the USFL? Be sure to leave a comment with your thoughts down below.

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Name: Matt Tristan Hometown: Binghamton NY Birthday: 08/10/1994 Played football in high school and college (St. John Fisher College - Division 3) Majored in Communication/Journalism Minor in Sports Management Steelers fan since 1994

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