clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Elijah Riley’s versatility is his answer to making the Steelers 53-man roster

Elijah Riley has been impressing during OTAs, and might be on the fast track to the Steelers 53-man roster.

NFL: JAN 08 Browns at Steelers Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers wrapped up their Organized Team Activities (OTAs) this past week and are now preparing for their mandatory minicamp to wrap up offseason workouts. Following this week the players will have just over a month to get away, get right, and be prepared for training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA at the end of July.

Throughout the offseason work thus far, fans have heard all about specific players who are showing up, and showing out.

Some of those players would be:

  • Rookie CB Cory Trice Jr.
  • Rookie TE Darnell Washington
  • QB Kenny Pickett
  • WR Calvin Austin III

Among others...

One name which isn’t on the above list, yet has been turning heads throughout camp has been Elijah Riley. Riley has been around the football at every turn, and is getting the coaches’ attention, per a source inside the Steelers facility.

However, per that same source, it isn’t just Riley’s ball skills and quick reaction time which has gotten the staff’s attention, it’s also his versatility. Riley, a safety by nature, is expected to compete for the slot cornerback role during run downs, and still be able to shift into a box safety look at times to help complement the defense.

In other words, he is proving he can equate in two positions of need while only taking up one roster spot. This would allow the Steelers to keep an extra player at another position which they deem to be more important from a depth perspective.

Does this mean Riley is a lock to make the 53-man roster? Absolutely not, but he very well has become a player who might went from been considered a long shot to make the roster, to someone with a legitimate shot at filling some defensive needs for the Steelers in 2023.

Those who are in attendance at practice can’t report on what they see unless they are able to have a player corroborate the story in a media session afterwards. What they’ve seen from Riley is a player who has the look of a guy who has started to “get it” after spending some time in the Steelers defense.

If you had Riley off your 53-man roster prediction, it might be time to re-think that decision if things keep trending in this way.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the 2023 NFL offseason.