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Getting to know the Steelers 2022 UDFAs: Chris Owens

The Steelers land a player who started at all three offensive line positions at Alabama.

Alabama v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

After the Pittsburgh Steelers selected seven players in the 2022 NFL draft, they continued adding to the roster with ten undrafted free agents. With many draft profiles focusing on those players towards the top and middle of the NFL draft, it is time to get to take a look at these other members of the Pittsburgh Steelers who will have just as much opportunity to make the roster in 2022 as those who were selected in the draft, despite the more difficult path.

Remember, some draft profiles for these players are quite harsh as they are looking at them as a draftable prospect. Taking a flyer on an UDFA is a completely different story as many times the potential the player shows is what lands them on an NFL offseason roster.

Last on this list is Alabama offensive lineman Chris Owens. The list will take a slight change in the coming days to cover the players added following rookie minicamp.


Chris Owens

Offensive lineman
RS Senior
Alabama
6’3” 305 lbs

After a red shirt season in 2016, Owens only appeared in three games in 2017 at guard as he was a reserve offensive lineman. In 2018, Owens appeared in 13 games as the reserve center and tackle while playing on special teams. In 2019 Owens made four starts while appearing in 11 games and even played some tight end occasionally. Owen started another three games in 2020 while appearing at 11 games before starting 13 games his final season, 12 of which were at right tackle and one at center.


Current Steelers at the position:

Guard

  1. Kevin Dotson
  2. James Daniels
  3. John Leglue
  4. Nate Gilliam
  5. Chris Owens

Center

  1. Kendrick Green
  2. Mason Cole
  3. J.C. Hassenauer

NOTE: Both position groups were included and all centers are also guard capable, and several guards are center capable. As for Owens, played all three positions (center, guard, tackle) in college and does not have a position designation on the Steelers website.


Draft Profiles:

There was more adequate information in the terms of breakdowns for Owens heading into the 2022 NFL draft. Here is a breakdown from thedraftnetwork.com:

Alabama right tackle Chris Owens has worn different hats along the offensive line. Owens assumed the backup position at center, guard, and tackle. After starting as a reserve, he became a starter at the beginning of the 2019 season. This versatility bodes well for finding a place on an NFL roster. Owens is a powerful and stout offensive lineman. He’s at his best when triggering vertically in the run game. He will displace defenders and open lanes for his running backs. His strong latching ability allows him to turn and seal defenders. He has a solid kick slide in pass sets, but struggles with agile and twitchy rushers. As a result, Owens projects best as a guard where he is battling in a phone booth instead of on an island in space. He has a few technical errors to correct that will help his transition at either OL position. He strikes his opponents with wide hands outside of their frame. His hands land on the outer shoulder pads—this can result in penalties in the NFL. His punch timing can be late and quicker rushers counter easily. Owens can develop into a starting guard and operate as a swing tackle.

Ideal Role: Developmental guard or swing tackle

Scheme Fit: RPO-centric passing offense, power/inside zone run concepts

Here is another draft profile from nfldraftbuzz.com:

Strengths

Anchors well and plays with the low center of gravity and natural bend to seal the inside lanes. Has violent hands with hustle to close off bubble screens and lead to flatten linebackers. Nasty demeanor and highly coachable.

Plays with appropriate wide base and intelligence, instincts and agility to seal the edge. Aggressive extending with power to punch and looks comfortable in space.

Solid positional run blocker who flashes the nasty demeanor and killer instinct scouts covet.

Awareness is above-average for his limited experience. Sells trap block and can turn to seal. Fluid getting to and adjust at the second level.

Anchors against larger defenders in the middle; resets hands to maintain distance. Athletic enough to help on nose tackle then pick up twist or late blitzer. Mirrors quick interior rushers. Looks to help the center when uncovered.

Weaknesses

Needs to work on his technique in pass protection, using more consistent leverage and continuing to move his feet.

Loses leverage battles and plays with high pad level. Can be late off the snap.

Needs to prove his worth in a straight-ahead running game.

Flashes the ability to move his man with his hands, but is not yet consistent in this area.

A short-area blocker with limited range and doesn’t consistently get to the second level. Will play undisciplined at times, especially in space. Lacks a finishing attitude.


Film:

To finish off the breakdown of Chris Owens, no evaluation is complete without film:

(WARNING: Videos could contain explicit lyrics)