Every year there are young players fighting to make an NFL roster. Some are fresh out of college who were chosen late in the draft or signed as undrafted rookie free agents while others are continuing to try to break into the league after several previous attempts. Some of these players make it; many of them don’t.
The practice squad of each NFL team is usually a place for players who are on the cusp of an NFL roster. While some teams use a few of their practice squad spots to develop certain players, other positions are used to help a team during practice throughout the season.
Sometimes these players find their way to starting positions (Matt Feiler) and even Pro Bowls (Alejandro Villanueva). Many times these players are released and out of the league.
So what happened to the players on the Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 practice squad? Are any of them continuing their pursuits of an illustrious NFL career, or has the league already chewed them up and spit them out? While there were several players who were signed and released during the season, this exercise will focus on the players who began the season or ended the season on the Steelers 2019 practice squad.
Players who both started and finished the year on the Steelers practice squad
TE Kevin Rader
After spending time in Steelers training camp in 2019, Rader was on and off the practice squad several times throughout the season. Currently, he is still one of the Steelers five tight ends in training camp.
TE Christian Scotland-Williamson
Joining the Steelers as part of the International Player Pathway Program, CSW no longer gave the Steelers an extra roster spot and was released when the team signed tight end Dax Raymond before training camp. Scotland-Williamson is not currently with any NFL team.
OL Derwin Gray
The Steelers seventh-round draft pick in 2019, Gray spent the entire season on the practice squad and is looking to crack the Steelers 53-man roster in 2020.
DT Henry Mondeaux
Mondeaux held steady on the Steelers practice squad and all of 2019 and is still fighting for a roster position in 2020.
Players who only began the year on the Steelers practice squad
RB Trey Edmunds
The eldest of the Edmunds brothers spent the final four games of 2018 on the Steelers roster. But to begin 2019, Trey Edmunds was on the practice squad until he was elevated in Week 6 as the Steelers traveled to Los Angeles to face the Chargers. Edmunds was active the remainder of 2019 and even had the Steelers longest run from scrimmage on the season. He is currently one of seven running back’s hoping to find a spot with the Steelers for 2020.
WR Tevin Jones
Spending all of the 2018 season on the Steelers practice squad, Jones found himself in a familiar position to start the 2019 season. Called up on the day of the Steelers Week 11 game against the Cleveland Browns, Jones was on the active roster for five games before being released prior to the Steelers Week 16 matchup. Jones was signed to the Dallas cowboys practice squad the next day and is still a part of their training camp roster.
OL Patrick Morris
Morris is another player who was on the Steelers 2018 practice squad and found himself in the same position in 2019. But when Maurkice Pouncey was suspended following the Steelers Week 11 game, Morris was promoted to the active roster for the next two games. Upon his release in which the Steelers indicated they wanted to resign Morris to the practice squad, he was claimed off waivers by the Denver Broncos. Morris is still on the Broncos roster and appeared in two games in 2019.
WR Johnny Holton
Holton was the last Pittsburgh Steelers player to sign to the practice squad after cut downs in 2019. His time on the practice squad was very short-lived as he was promoted to the active roster for the Steelers Week 1 game. Released by the Steelers in the offseason, Holton is currently a free agent.
DB Marcus Allen
After spending all of 2018 on the active roster yet only getting a helmet for two games, Allen was delegated to the practice squad for almost all of 2019. He was promoted to the active roster for Week 17 when the team parted ways with safety Cameron Kelly. Allen is currently on the Steelers 80-man roster and is practicing as both a safety and linebacker in hopes of making the Steelers final cut.
DB Trevon Mathis
Joining the Steelers 2019 training camp as a late addition, Mathis impressed enough to land on the Steelers practice squad to start the season. But after three weeks, he was released in favor of cornerback Alexander Myres. Mathis never caught on with another NFL team. He did sign with the New York Guardians of the XFL but failed to make the team.
LB Robert Spillane
After spending 2018 with the Tennessee Titans, the Steelers brought in Spillane for training camp and signed him to the 2019 practice squad. Activated to the 53-man roster in Week 4, Spillane was released two weeks later and signed back to the practice squad. His final move to the Steelers roster came in Week 10 following Ulysees Gilbert III going on IR. Spillane remained with the Steelers the rest of the season and is in line to make the Steelers 53-man roster in 2020.
Players who only finished the year on the Steelers practice squad
WR Quadree Henderson
The former Pitt Panther had bounced around various practice squads before being signed by Pittsburgh before Week 12 in 2019. Signed to a futures contract in the offseason, Henderson was a victim of the Steelers cutting their training camp roster from 90 to 80 players. He is currently a free agent.
WR Jamal Custis
Custis was signed to the Steelers practice squad the final two weeks of 2019 when the team promoted Amara Darboh to the active roster. After signing a futures contract following the season, Custis was released as the Steelers needed room to sign additional undrafted rookie free agents following the 2020 NFL draft. Custis is currently a free agent.
QB J.T. Barrett
Barrett was brought to the practice squad the final week of the 2019 season after the Steelers placed Mason Rudolph on the Reserve/Injured List. Barrett began the season with the Steelers and reported with the rookies but was released when the Steelers had to trim their roster from 90 to 80 players. Barrett is not currently on an NFL roster.
CB Alexander Myres
Myres was an undrafted free agent for the Steelers in 2019 but was cut early in camp due to a non-football illness. Myres was signed to the Steelers practice squad prior to Week 4 and remained with the team the rest of the season. He was released this past Sunday when the Steelers signed DeAndre Tompkins.
RB Ralph Webb
Webb bounced around the NFL in 2018 before he finished the year with the Steelers on their practice squad. On and off the roster during 2019 training camp, Webb came back to the practice squad prior to Week 12 in 2019. Webb was yet another victim of the Steelers having to cut their 2020 training camp roster from 90 to 80 players and has not signed with another team.
S Tray Matthews
After spending the 2018 season with the Green Bay Packers practice squad, Matthews ended up with the Steelers practice squad for their final week of the season when they promoted Marcus Allen. Matthews was another player who was released in order for the Steelers to sign additional undrafted rookie free agents in April. He has not caught on with another team.
OL Christian DiLauro
After spending time on the practice squad of the Houston Texans, San Francisco 49ers, and Cleveland Browns during 2018 and 2019, DiLauro was signed by the Steelers to their practice squad during the bye week in 2019. He has continued with the Steelers and is still on their current 80-man training camp roster.