Ifo Ekpre-Olomu was looking like a top 10 pick going into the 2014 NFL draft, but rather than declaring and going into the draft, he stayed at Oregon for one more year. That year Oregon wound up being one of the top teams in the country and were in the first college football playoff. Olomu's decision was looking like one that was going to pay off as he was part of a suffocating Oregon defense. That all changed after one practice leading up to the Rose Bowl as Olomu wound up tearing his ACL and dislocating his knee bone. That injury wound up having him fall all the way to the 7th round as the Browns picked him.
Fast forward to today, Olomu has been released by the Browns and is now on waivers. Olomu has stated on Instagram that he believes his knee is close to a one hundred percent. If he were to clear waivers, should the Steelers take a chance on Olomu?
My answer to that is why not? The Steelers let Sean Spence, a 3rd round pick out of Miami, recover from a gruesome knee injury that he suffered in the 2012 preseason and it took him 2 years to get back on the field. Spence proved to be a reliable player when he was called upon to play and the Steelers patience payed off.
It's hard to say whether Olomu will fully recover from his injury and whether or not he will play football again. Those same questions surrounded Sean Spence during his recovery. Remember, the Steelers aren't going to pay a kings ransom for Olomu if he were to clear waivers and they don't have to. Olomu has more questions than answers at this point but if he were to answer some of those questions and the Steelers ended up having him on their roster, it would add more depth to a position that is in need of some competition.
Remember how the Steelers at one point had some of the best depth at the inside linebacker position with players like Vince Williams and Spence behind Lawrence Timmons and Ryan Shazier. The Steelers did that because they were patient with a player they had high hopes for and he wound up contributing when injuries struck the position. If the Steelers did the same and Olomu clears waivers, the move could prove to add key depth and competition to a position that the Steelers need.
With the recent release of Donte Whitner, I can't help but speculate that the Browns are just trying to purge the old regime's players. Also NFL network insider Rand Getlin's tweet leads me to speculate even more.
Note on Ifo Ekpre-Olumu. I'm told he's 100% healthy and feels certain he'll be playing football at a high level this year.— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) April 2, 2016
If this very well wounds up to be the case, there seems to be even more reason to give him a chance. What do they have to lose by taking a chance on him? I think the real question is how much can the Steelers gain by exercising patience with a player like that? The pay off could be significant and the risk is almost none.