The 8 players who were selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2015 NFL Draft have certainly been talked about at length, but what about the undrafted rookie free agents (UDFA) who were signed by the team shortly after the NFL Draft concluded? In this series, we will give you what you need to know about these players, as well as whether the next James Harrison (who was an UDFA himself) is waiting to make their presence felt.
Name: Cameron Clear
Position: Tight End
College: Texas A&M
Superpowers: Huge size and decent blocking ability. According to NFL.com he "flashes adequate athleticism in routes."
Not Super: Arrest for felony theft as a freshman at Tennessee, but seems to be on the straight and narrow now. His draft report also indicated that can be inconsistent.
Bottom Line: He hasn't seen a lot of playing time and has sabotaged himself with some youthful indiscretions (if you call a felony an indiscretion). Those factors could work to his favor: he might be a candidate for tremendous improvement in terms of both physical ability and character in a system with elite coaches and management.
Name: Dominique "Niko" Davis
Position: Defensive End
Superpower: He has a good head on his shoulders, telling BuffaloNews.com, "Around here people think I'm tall and huge. I won't be tall and huge there. I'll be a pipsqueak. I understand that, but I think I have a chance." I'd prefer "know I have a chance" to "think I have a chance," but perhaps he's just a humble dude. Or realistic.
Weakness: As a walk-on, he did not see a ton of playing time. He had a scholarship through AmeriCorps, but donated plasma twice a week to earn extra money. Ok, seriously, that isn't a weakness. That's just cool. No sense of entitlement there. He needs money; he sells blood. Back to actual weaknesses: His level of play might not be elite or NFL-quality.
Fun Facts: He was on the swim team during his high school years at Layayette High in Buffalo, NY, did street performances (as a tin man!), and is a man of deep faith, even attending Florida School of Discipleship for nine months.
Bottom Line: Dude seems to have a great attitude, poise, and thoughtfulness, as evidenced in a senior-year video for Liberty University in which he said, "You only get one shot. Once the moment passes, the moment is gone." He seems to be a carpe diem kind of guy, looking to take advantage of opportunities and make the most of the moment. Seriously, watch the video. Seems like a super-friendly, positive person who would be a great addition to the Steelers squad if he can develop enough to contribute in terms of on-field play. Like other UDFAs, the biggest upside to Davis is potential. He made the transition at Liberty, and now as he attempts to make an NFL team he has memories of selling plasma and the experience of upping his game that he can leverage in this new environment.
Name: B.J. Finney
School: Kansas State
Superpowers: Like Niko Davis, Finney was a walk on who worked his way up to being Big 12 Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year. Clearly a trajectory of continual improvement could work in his favor. As a former wrestler, he knows something about moving opponents around in the most efficient way possible.
Weaknesses: His NFL.com scouting report claimed he has short arms. He also doesn't excel at any one task, except maybe perseverance and persistence, which shouldn't be underestimated.
Fun Fact: Check out this youtube reaction video
Bottom Line: Finney was predicted to be a fourth or fifth round draft pick and instead went undrafted. Finney could be one of the biggest steals of the offseason. To quote Ike Taylor, "Time will tell."
Name: Devin Gardner
Position: Quarterback/ WR
Fast facts: Devin Gardner has gotten more coverage than other UDFAs because of his versatility and potential to crossover to WR. Also with Landry Jones being a bit of a persona non grata among fans, it could be a relief if Devin Gardiner were on the roster to develop into a Slash-type player in the future.
Check out BTSC's previous coverage of Devin Gardner for more info:
Could Devin Gardner become the Steelers' new Kordell "Slash" Stewart by Bryan De Ardo.
Also watch out for the other installments in this series so you can learn more about all the UDFAs of the Black & Gold.