By Jeremy Hritz
After finishing up all of the Steelers draft pick profiles, it is now time to move on to the undrafted rookie free agents. In this series, which will cover all 10 UDRFAs, I will provide an overview and analysis of each prospect so you know what to expect, and how, potentially, the player fits into the Steelers plans heading into 2022.
Jordan Tucker, OL, University of North Carolina
Big, BIG man. I mean big. Seriously, this dude is huge. At 6’6, 344 pounds, you won’t find too many humans on the planet earth this large, making him an intriguing prospect for the Steelers should they be able to align all of Tucker’s talents and gifts, while minimizing and overcoming his areas for growth. Tucker is a 3-year starter who has played in 32 games, earning experience that should serve him well as he transitions into the NFL. Experience at left tackle, but the bulk of his snaps at North Carolina came on the right side. Blocked for Sam Howell in college and Malik Willis in high school, and now potentially Kenny Pickett in the NFL. Pretty unique set of QBs, if I say so myself.
Strengths of Tucker
Did I mention that Tucker is massive? Seriously, his size makes him a valuable prospect because of the sheer potential to become an immovable force on the offensive line for the Steelers. If he can develop his strength to match his size, there is reason to be optimistic. Tucker also has extremely long arms which are tremendously conducive to the tackle position to be able to keep pass rushers at a distance and away from the quarterback. When everything clicks, and Tucker coordinates his size and technique, he is able to overpower defenders to the point of no return. However, this is where he most needs to develop consistency.
Areas of Growth for Tucker
There is no question that Tucker is a project, but one, who if his area for growth can be developed, could be a force to reckon with. First, he will need to enhance his strength, because for a very big man, his strength is not commensurate. Thankfully, an NFL nutrition and training regimen can adequately address that. Where Tucker struggles is in the area of athleticism, as he has heavy feet, is clunky when moving laterally, and oftentimes has trouble maintaining blocks at the second level. Foot quickness and hip bend, in addition to focusing on playing lower will have to be priorities for Tucker heading into OTAs, Minicamp, and ultimately, training camp. If he can incrementally make strides in these areas, he will make himself a viable option for the Steelers.
Outlook for Making the 2022 Steelers Roster
It’s a tough hill to climb for any UDRFA to make the Steelers roster, but Tucker does have a chance to earn a spot on the Steelers practice squad. There is precedent of the Steelers growing offensive linemen on the practice squad before ultimately joining the 53, and perhaps Tucker can follow a similar path. You cannot manufacture size, and Tucker’s behemoth stature will earn him a long, extended look from the coaching staff. If he can show any growth and ability to respond to coaching, he should find himself on this year’s practice squad.