Tegray Scales is yet another relatively unknown player on the Pittsburgh Steelers 90-man roster, it is not the fans that need to know his name; it is the coaching staff. Scales has been trying to make a name for himself at OTAs and minicamp, hoping to see reps during the preseason where he can try to prove his worth.
The 6’0”, 230-pound Scales played his collegiate ball for the Indiana Hoosiers out of the Big Ten Conference. His college career started off on the right foot when Scales started all 12 games his freshman season. The former Scout four-star recruit racked up 46 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, one sack, and three interceptions. Solid numbers for a true freshman in a BCS conference. The performance earned scales many accolades which include 247Sports.com True Freshman All-American, second team Scout.com Freshman All-American, and BTN.com and 247Sports.com All-Big Ten Freshman.
Scales’ sophomore season got off to a rocky start when he was suspended for the first two games of the season for disciplinary reasons. Even though he played in fewer games (One start) his production increased tallying 64 total tackles, five for loss, three sacks and two interceptions.
During his junior year, Scales made a name for himself on the national scene with 125 total tackles, 24 for loss, 7 sacks, one interception (Pick-6), and one forced fumble. In nine contests Scales racked up double-digit tackles, tops in the Big Ten and third nationally which included a streak of six in a row. His 13 stops helped secure an upset win over No. 17 ranked Michigan St., a new career high for a single game. Postseason honors included, SI.com second team All-American, second-team All-Big Ten (media), Foster Farms Bowl Defensive Most Valuable Player, and IU Male Athlete of the Year. Scales became the first linebacker from Indiana since 1987 to earn All-American honors.
Scales forwent declaring for the NFL and returned for his senior season. During his last season with Indiana, productivity dipped. The 2017 performance was still a solid season with 89 total tackles, 12.5 for loss, six sacks, two fumble recoveries. And two interceptions. Scales performance still earned him First-team All-Big Ten (media) honors.
At the NFL combine, Scales posted a sluggish 4.77 forty time to go along with a solid 27 bench press reps but a hamstring injury prevented him from taking part in many other events. At 230 pounds and running a poor 40 time was all teams needed to keep his name from being called during the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Los Angeles Rams took a flier on Scales and brought him in as an undrafted rookie free agent but he did not make the 53-man roster. The Rams did not sign him to a practice squad spot, and neither did any other team until the Indianapolis Colts did so in December. Scales was released two weeks later.
On January 4, 2019, Scales Steelers career started when he signed a reserve/future contract.
Scales will need to showcase his sound read and react ability along with his adequate coverage skills to overcome his lack of wrap up tackling ability, along with his lack of speed, if he wants to get noticed by the Steelers staff.
While watching tape on Scales, he reminded me of Tyler Matakevich with a high motor, but limited speed with better coverage ability. Scales will have to show his worth not only on defense but also on special teams like Dirty Red has if he is to crack the 53-man roster or be offered a spot on the practice squad. It may boil down to a numbers game for No. 46 if he hopes to make the 2019 squad.
How many inside linebackers will the Steelers keep, four or five? Three of those spots should be locked up between free agent acquisition Mark Barron, veteran Vince Williams, and 2019 first round selection Devin Bush, but who else is in the running? Matakevich has been solid on special teams, but a liability while filling in on defense. The Steelers 2019 sixth round class, Ulysses Gilbert and Sutton Smith (I project him as an ILB, not OLB) are not guaranteed of anything with their late-round selection. Fan favorite and 2018 preseason darling, Olasunkanmi Adeniyi finished the 2018 season on the Steelers 53-man roster will also be in the mix.
Five players could vie for a single roster spot. Do you think Scales makes it or is he with the Steelers as a warm camp body?