The Steelers signed free-agent cornerback Jermaine Ponder just before Tuesday afternoon’s training camp practice.
Ponder played collegiately at St. Frances University. His senior year, Ponder appeared in all 11 games for the Red Flash, recording 25 tackles and an interception. Signed this offseason as an undrafted free agent by the Cleveland Browns, Ponder was released Saturday in or to sign defensive tackle Tracey Sprinkle.
The 6’1” 200-lb defensive back had a fairly impressive pro day this past offseason. Ponder ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash and measured in with a 40-inch vertical leap. With game statistics which did not jump out from a player coming from a small conference, it was Ponder’s measurables which drew the attention of a few NFL teams as they rushed to sign undrafted rookies.
It will be interesting to see if Ponder can get up to speed in order to find any significant playing time in the Steelers first preseason game Friday night at Heinz Field. With only two practices to get acclimated before the match up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Ponder will definitely be ““jumping on the moving train” as Coach Tomlin likes to refer to players joining the team at this point in training camp.
To make room on the roster, the Steelers waived/injured cornerback Derrek Thomas who was just signed to the team on August 1. In his short time with the Steelers, Thomas most notably had one interception in practice.