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.
Tyler Snead, WR, East Carolina University
Tyler Snead got an opportunity in Steelers rookie minicamp to try out for the team, and he made it. Not that anyone should be surprised, as he was a fan favorite at East Carolina where his heart and relentless effort endeared him to fans. Over 31 games at ECU, Snead recorded 162 receptions for 1881 yards and 16 touchdowns. Also ran for 99 yards during his career, and attempted 5 passes, completing 3 of them for 137 yards and 3 touchdowns. Returned a total of 84 kickoffs and punts, 2 for touchdowns. Needless to say he is highly versatile.
At 5’7, 174, Snead is diminutive, but big on playmaking and intangibles. I could not locate any confirmation of Snead’s 40 time, but a few resources indicate he runs a 4.52, which is decent for a wide receiver. While not as fast, Snead reminds me of Matthew Sexton from Eastern Michigan who was in camp with the Steelers last season.
Strengths of Snead
Versatility. Snead can do it all: catch, run, return, and even throw. Has the ability to get open down the field, despite not having elite speed, and he has the quality hands to bring in the catch. His sticky hands may in fact be his greatest asset, as he is able to pull in anything thrown in his direction. Has excellent vision when the ball is in the air and can coordinate his eyes, body, and hands to put himself in the best position to make the catch. Is a true football player with character and heart for days, making him a player who you cannot count out.
Areas of Growth for Snead
Very undersized, which will present problems against larger, physical corners in the NFL. Not long arms, which limits his catch radius. Decent, but not elite speed for outside deep routes. The majority of Snead’s challenges will stem from his size, but if he can show that he can overcome that in the NFL, there may be a place for him.
Outlook for Making the 2022 Steelers Roster
It is going to be difficult for Snead to make the 53-man roster, though he could compete for the practice squad. Snead will assuredly have to showcase his versatility, especially on special teams and in the return game to have a viable shot at making the roster. At 5’7, 174 pounds, it’s difficult to imagine him being able to compete while giving up 5+ inches and 30+ pounds to NFL defensive backs. However, this kid has heart, and I would not count him out from making noise in camp with the Steelers this summer.