After the Pittsburgh Steelers selected seven players in the 2023 NFL draft, they continued adding to the roster with seven 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 2023 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.
Next on the list is Iowa State center Trevor Downing.
6’5” 304 lbs
Current Steelers at the position:
Interior Offensive Line
- Isaac Seumalo
- James Daniels
- Mason Cole
- Kevin Dotson
- Nate Herbig
- Kendrick Green
- Ryan McCollum
- William Dunkle
- Spencer Anderson
- Trevor Downing
Here was a breakdown of Downing from NFL.com:
Downing is not big or strong enough to root out block-eaters and is an average athlete as it pertains to move-blocking duties, but he knows where he needs to be and is generally in the right place at the right time. There won’t be anything that stands out about his game, but the tape is fairly solid and he should get a look in an NFL camp.
Team captain with center/guard roster flexibility.
Quick to find his run-blocking task and get into his fit.
Makes fairly quick adjustments to moving fronts.
Patient but accurate connecting to linebackers.
Turns out feet and unlocks hips for sudden rush anchor.
The work is steady between his hands and feet.
Lacks ideal frame and mass as an NFL interior blocker.
Has difficulty redirecting rush pressure that hits his edge.
Inconsistent sliding feet to cut off gaps against sudden pressure.
Tall pad level limits his drive-blocking ability.
Average athlete without much margin for error.
Here is another evaluation from SI.com:
A versatile fifth-year senior interior lineman whose skillset is inclusive of multiple run schemes and singled-up protections, Downing is the definition of ‘farm strong.’ After starting the previous two seasons at guard, the Iowa native moved to center for his final year. Downing owns terrific size, long physique and solid mass, plus a well-built frame. He generates nice push in the run game due to his lower body power and demonstrates sound technique—he rarely gets pushed back. Downing also flashes the ability to play in both gap and zone run schemes, with adequate physicality and movement skills for both. In pass protection, he understands the value of hand placement and angles. However, he does tend to struggle against upfield rush, threatened by get-off and speed. Known as a grinder, Downing leads by example and coaches say he is most likely to be found in the film room. His positional flexibility bodes well for his chances of sticking at the next level, as he has also played tackle, in addition to all three interior spots. He most likely projects as a day three prospect.
And here is one more from profootballnetwork.com:
Trevor Downing, C
Strengths: Zone-gap prospect who started for three seasons at Iowa state. Quickly gets into blocks, bends his knees, and gets leverage on opponents. Effective with his hands, fundamentally sound, and displays outstanding blocking vision. Immediately recognizes blitzes, adjusts to defenders, and seals opponents from the action. Quick to the second level and can hit a moving target. Remains disciplined with assignments and slides in space.
Weaknesses: Struggles to handle larger opponents and gets knocked around in the middle of the field. Rarely finishes run blocks.
Overall: Downing displays athleticism and agility, but he needs a running start into opponents. He offers possibilities as a backup center or guard in a zone-blocking system.
To finish off the breakdown of Trevor Downing, no evaluation is complete without film. This is the film from Iowa St (offense) vs. Iowa (defense) in 2022. Downing is the center (#52 in white).