The 6’5, 288-pound defensive lineman was one of four Pittsburgh Steelers’ signings from rookie minicamp. Mondeaux will have a mountain to climb to land a spot on the 53-man roster or the team’s practice squad. Stephon Tuitt, Cam Heyward, and Javon Hargrave are locked in as the 2019 starters along the defensive line. The team also re-signed top backup Tyson Alualu. In 2018, the team carried six defensive linemen into the season.
Too small to play nose tackle, his only true option will be to compete for a backup defensive end position. His competitors at the position will be 2019 sixth rounder Isaiah Buggs, Casey Sayles, Conor Sheehy, and Craig Winston. Overcoming challenges is nothing new to Mondeaux, as he is a type-1 diabetic. The diabetes forces Mondeaux to take insulin daily to manage his condition.
“I deal with that and play football and that’s what I try and play for -- kids that get affected by stuff like that. It doesn’t mean that your dreams are over,” Mondeaux said.
“I’ve got to make sure that I know everything that’s going into my body especially even more with my condition,” he said. “So I’d say that’s the toughest part, maintaining my weight and all that.”
The former Oregon Ducks defensive lineman appeared in 41 games in college which spanned four seasons. He had 111 total tackles, 10 sacks, and two fumble recoveries. His senior season was his most productive with 45 total tackles, six for loss, five sacks and one fumble recovery.
His productive college career landed him with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2018. Mondeaux could not crack the final Saints roster and remained a street free agent until December 31 when he was signed to the team’s practice squad.
On February 1, Mondeaux was signed to fill out the Kansas City Chiefs 90-man roster. He lasted just over three months and was cut before the Chiefs’ rookie minicamp. The move cleared the way for him to compete in the Steelers’ minicamp.
On his third team in over a year, it does not bode well for Mondeaux but the others vying for the position are not guaranteed of the final spot and are not household names. Buggs may have a leg up at this stage because of his draft pedigree but he is assured of nothing. Steelers fans know that sixth-round picks are not guaranteed roster spots.
During the Kevin Colbert era, there have been plenty of sixth rounders who have failed to land a spot on the final 53-man roster. According to Pro Football Reference, over a quarter of the Steelers sixth rounders do not make it into the regular season.
Camp body? Or legitimate 53-man roster contender?