The Steelers signed CFL star WR Diontae Spencer recently, and I was intrigued by the signing. I do not watch much CFL, but I did know of Spencer because he was getting legitimate NFL buzz earlier this year. He seems to be a player that a lot of teams actually wanted and the Steelers happened to pounce onto him first. He offers a skill set at WR that the Steelers really do not currently have on their roster. Upon diving into his film, I found that there was a number of traits I liked in Spencer, especially the 4.3 speed he displayed on film.
The #Steelers got a good WR in Diontae Spencer. I am incredibly impressed by his CFL tape. Fast as hell, solid route runner, vertical threat, slot capabilities, fantastic returner, and even more importantly, contested catch ability. He could make a serious roster push. pic.twitter.com/G0fBUYUvKF— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) January 6, 2019
One of the things I noticed in Spencer was his ability to win vertically all the time. This man can win his release off the line by pure speed to the outside and a good throw there. In separation off of press, he beats it with good footwork and fantastic hand fighting to give him the leverage. He is small, but when he plays that well off of press and has the body control on the boundary, he displays versatility as well. Obviously, that body control is on display in this clip. That is beautiful ball tracking, and he then makes an adjustment to drag his feet and secure the catch. With 4.3 speed and the ability to win vertically, Spencer automatically gets a huge check in my book.
Recently, the Steelers have shown a love for the bunch look and the quick developing play, and man, would Spencer ever boost that. He is not just fast, but quick and a dangerous player after the catch. This type of jet motion was also used by the Steelers, and it would obviously not shock me to see a similar approach next year if they wanted to get Spencer involved, but this sure is impressive. You can see the jets turn on here too.
The @REDBLACKS don't waste any time on this possession as Diontae Spencer (@DSpencer4_) catches a deep pass for a 79-yard touchdown!! This is his second touchdown catch of the game!#CFLGameDay pic.twitter.com/YcJWtHG1g5— CFL on TSN (@CFLonTSN) October 27, 2018
You know what would be nice to get in this offense? A vertical threat who can work from the slot! That was not seen that much out of this offense, and it would add a whole new dimension, and that post Spencer runs is so smooth and he uses his speed to just burn the DB. Spencer can work inside and out, but he will likely be a slot guy in the NFL, and that can mean a lot in Randy Fichtner’s system.
And if you needed any evidence of his returning ability, here it is. Veering through traffic like that and being able to win towards the edge is an ability that not all WRs have in the league, that is for sure. Spencer has some special speed and could be an upgrade to Ryan Switzer if he does pan out.
Guys like Spencer are the type of players you want to bring in during the offseason, and he certainly shows high promise, and who knows, he could even be a staunch contributor next year. Let’s hope so.