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Offense takes center stage as Steelers meet with plenty of skill position players

The Pittsburgh Steelers continue the meeting process at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Cincinnati v Temple Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The 2023 NFL Scouting Combine is well underway, and the meetings between prospects and NFL teams have begun. Many compare Combine meetings between organizations and prospects like speed dating. Not a lot of time to get to know players, and you are trying to meet with as many prospects as possible.

It is at this time when players make their meetings with teams official during their time in front of the media. In this case, players who have met with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It should be known there are a myriad of meetings which go unreported, and also less significance in these quick, rapid-fire meetings during the chaos that has become the NFL Combine.

With all that said, Friday was when quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends took the stage for media availability, and plenty of players said they had meetings with the Steelers during their time at the podium. Below you’ll see a list of players who were open about their meetings, where they went to school, some bullet points on the prospects, and more.

(Note: All “breakdowns” below are courtesy of The Draft Network)

Let’s get into it!

Parker Washington, Penn State WR

Top Reasons to Buy In:

  • Effective run-after-catch weapon and strong contact balance
  • Strong hands and contested catch ability have created some surreal plays on the ball
  • Special teams potential is present to carve out an active roster spot

Top Reasons For Concern:

  • Needs growth to win as a true NFL route-runner
  • Untraditional wide receiver build
  • Questions about ceiling as a player will linger amid consistent complementary role in the offense

Mitchell Tinsley, Penn State WR

Pros: This is a big-time RAC threat that is difficult to tackle in the open field. Mitchell Tinsley made several dynamic, impressive plays with the ball in his hands after catch on throws in traffic to pinball off tacklers and create free yardage for his offense. He built his production based on a lot of strong chemistry with QB Bailey Zappe at Western Kentucky in 2021 as the “second” receiver in the passing attack behind Jerreth Sterns. He will have a chance to fulfill a similar role for Penn State in 2022 with Parker Washington. I don’t think Tinsley is a burner but he’s a try-hard, as evidenced by his background. His lack of raw gifts initially as a player has promoted good habits as a route-runner and in all phases of the position; he’s gotten to where he is not based on talent but based on work ethic and growth in fundamentals. I consider him to have strong hands and to be a reliable catcher of the ball in traffic.

Cons: At the end of the day, Mitchell Tinsley is still a player who had to forge himself from the ground up to become the player he is today. That comes with only marginal physical skills and I’m not sure he’s going to be a mismatch player at the NFL level. But he can clearly run routes and serve as a secondary option in the passing game. I certainly wouldn’t rule out the potential of him claiming a strong special teams role in the NFL as well, although I haven’t assessed much film out of WKU to give any level of concrete evidence as such. How Tinsley manages the leap in competition and how well he showcases his route-running translating to a different offense will be defining factors in his draft stock in 2023.

Tre Tucker, Cincinnati WR

Top Reasons to Buy In:

  • Explosive
  • Ability to create space
  • Confident hands

Top Reasons For Concern:

  • Size
  • Catch radius
  • Likely slot-only

Jalen Wayne, South Alabama WR

Reasons To Buy In:

  • Third-level route running
  • Physical traits
  • Versatility

Reasons For Concern:

  • RAC ability
  • Short-to-intermediate route-running
  • Twitch and agility

Zay Flowers, Boston College WR

Top Reasons to Buy In:

  • An electric player in space
  • Three-level receiving threat
  • Dynamic run-after-catch option

Top Reasons For Concern:

  • Lack of mass and height
  • Inconsistent hands (catching)
  • Functional strength as a run blocker

Jason Brownlee, Southern Mississippi WR

Positives: Tall, physical receiver who consistently wins out for contested throws. Offers the quarterback an imposing target, uses his frame to shield away opponents, and works hard to come away with difficult receptions. Runs disciplined routes, tracks the pass in the air, gets vertical, and contorts to grab errant throws. Extends his hands and snatches the ball away from his frame. Keeps the play in bounds after the catch. Knows where he is on the field, displays a terrific sense of timing, and wins out for jump balls.

Negatives: Neither quick nor fast. Plays to one speed. Cannot run to deep throws.

Bryce Ford-Wheaton, West Virginia WR

Top Reasons to Buy In:

  • Blend of size and ball skills is an exciting mix
  • Nose for the end zone and explosive plays
  • Difficult to press with physicality at the line
  • Developmental upside

Top Reasons For Concern:

  • Struggles with separation
  • Inconsistent hands yield too many drops
  • Currently a one-dimensional player whose college offense leaves a lot of growth
  • Developmental curve will take time and patience to work through

Aidan O’Connell, Purdue QB

Top Reasons to Buy In:

  • Toughness
  • Competitiveness
  • Poise

Top Reasons For Concern:

  • Arm Strength
  • Mobility
  • Turnovers

Sam LaPorta, Iowa TE

Top Reasons to Buy In:

  • Hands and route-running
  • Ability to work all areas of the field
  • Good athlete that can win after the catch
  • Competitive blocker

Top Reasons For Concern:

  • Sustaining blocks
  • Hasn’t proven to be a dominant player at the catch point when contested

Brenton Strange, Penn State TE

Top Reasons to Buy In:

  • Impressive run-after-catch ability for the TE position
  • Strong hands at the catch point
  • NFL build to play the in-line position as a traditional tight end

Top Reasons For Concern:

  • In-line blocking ability stands to improve
  • Separation against man coverage is a lingering question
  • Route-running in general will need continued development

Michael Mayer, Notre Dame TE

Top Reasons to Buy In:

  • Easily translatable skill set to the NFL game
  • In-line blocking skills will allow for impact in both the run and pass game
  • Tremendous ball skills and contested-catch ability
  • Mismatch target in the middle of the field

Top Reasons For Concern:

  • Traditional positional value will scorn his draft range as a tight end
  • Not the most dynamic player in the passing game; more of a possession player
  • Tight ends typically require extended runway upon NFL transition to maximize potential

Kyle Patterson, Air Force TE


  • Works hard on and off the field. Good strength throughout, fluid body control, and natural movement kills.
  • Looks and runs like a lanky receiver. High-cut, long and lean frame. Deceptive speed and enough quickness to separate.
  • Good vision to set up blocks and while Patterson isn’t quick enough to elude in tight quarters, and take advantage of a defender leaning to spring for additional yardage.
  • Has extremely good, soft, natural hands. Consistently makes the clean catch.
  • Soft, reliable hands center the big target for quarterbacks. Shields the defense and will let the ball into his pads to protect it when about to absorb a big hit over the middle.
  • Patterson is a natural playmaker, at his best with the ball in his hands.


  • Is a bit high-hipped and slow to get rolling. Frame limits upside as a blocker.
  • Patterson also lacks suddenness as a route runner, and that is a potential issue at the next level.
  • Patterson seems comfortable in traffic to the point where Patterson doesn’t make the effort to create separation.

Keep tabs on BTSC as we add to the list of players who have met with the Steelers during the Combine, as well as all the news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they press on throughout the NFL offseason.