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Getting to know the Steelers 2024 UDFAs: John Rhys Plumlee

After the Pittsburgh Steelers selected seven players in the 2024 NFL draft, they continued adding to the roster by coming to terms with five undrafted free agents. With many draft profiles focusing on those players towards the top and middle of the NFL draft, it is time to get to take a look at these other members of the Pittsburgh Steelers who will have just as much opportunity to make the roster in 2024 as those who were selected in the draft, despite the more difficult path.

Remember, some draft profiles for these players are quite harsh as they are looking at them as a draftable prospect. Taking a flyer on an UDFA is a completely different story as many times the potential the player shows is what lands them on an NFL offseason roster.

Next up is quarterback John Rhys Plumlee from UCF.

John Rhys Plumlee

Redshirt Senior
6’0″; 200 lbs.

Playing five college seasons with three coming at Ole Miss and two at UCF, Plumlee appeared in 52 games with 464 completions on 760 attempts for 5838 passing yards and 34 touchdowns with 19 interceptions. The majority of these statistics came in two seasons at UCF where in 23 games Plumlee had 379 completions on 602 attempts for 4857 yards with 29 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.

Current Steelers at the position:


    • Russell Wilson
    • Justin Fields
    • Kyle Allen
    • John Rhys Plumlee

Draft Profile

Here is a breakdown from


Plumlee’s passing tape probably won’t be enough to get evaluators excited, but an outside-the-box evaluation creates more intrigue. He lacks size and the arm talent associated with playing quarterback in the NFL, but he has some ability in the pocket. He shines on designed runs and scrambles, where his speed and competitiveness allow him to score touchdowns and move the chains. Teams could choose to use him as a QB3 with gadget potential on short-yardage and red-zone snaps, but learning to run routes could expand his NFL versatility and allow creative play-callers to find a role for him.


  • Above-average speed and athletic traits for a quarterback.
  • Talented and tough on designed runs and scrambles.
  • Versatility to provide run/pass/catch options as a gadget player.
  • Able to squeeze through gaps and break tackles.
  • Above-average accuracy on intermediate throws.
  • Two-sport collegiate athlete and is highly competitive.


  • Falls below NFL size standards for a quarterback.
  • Might need to prove himself as a skill-position player at some point.
  • Forces receivers to break stride on deep throws.
  • Not much arm talent or velocity under duress.
  • Decision-making and coverage recognition are below average.

Here is a breakdown from

Plumlee’s Scouting Report


  • Elite creative threat with springy athleticism and instant explosiveness in the open field.
  • Has brisk agility and legitimate vertical speed at the second level, extending runs.
  • Has a decent arm for his size and can drive passes over deep coverage and lead WRs.
  • Possesses the arm elasticity to layer pace and touch, and maintain velocity off-platform.
  • Crisp rotational thrower with stellar mechanical efficiency and torque on rhythm passes.
  • Baseball background affords him a loose, effortless release that channels torque well.
  • Able to lead short targets away from contact in the torso region, maximizing RAC.
  • Has shown he can use controlled shoulder tilt to add loft on deep passes and aid WRs.
  • Flashes exceptional precision and control on lofted bucket throws to the boundary.
  • Able to read defender leverage on 1-on-1 deep passes and place passes accordingly.
  • Has shown to sense backside pressure, flow to the flats, and keep plays alive.
  • Has some discretion as a passer and won’t often force throws when nothing’s there.
  • Can anchor an option and misdirection offense with his athleticism and ball handling.
  • Tough competitor who sells out on runs, finishes forward, and willingly blocks for RBs.
  • Has a versatile background as a runner and receiver.


  • Is below average size for a QB and lacks great mass.
  • As a creator, lack of high-end mass limits his contact balance and play strength.
  • Doesn’t have the degree of arm strength to maintain pace on off-platform loft throws.
  • Can be flat-footed at the top of drops, which can impact freedom of motion stepping up.
  • Sometimes exhibits a heel click at the top of his drop, which can lock out hip rotation.
  • At times, can do a better job of stepping up in the pocket and rolling his base on throws.
  • Sometimes elongates his base width too far out of play-fakes, requiring correction.
  • Can be too quick to flow out the back of the pocket and rely on his creation ability.
  • Is more of an areal thrower at times and can improve overall situational precision.
  • Sometimes stares down initial reads, which can key in defenders and limit space.
  • Can be indecisive when working across progressions and needs more high-end anticipation.
  • Inconsistent trigger can delay response time against pressure and put the ball at risk.
  • Struggled expanding beyond one-read throws and scripted plays on offense.

Current Draft Projection and Summary

Plumlee grades out as a late-round and potential PFA prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft. It’s more likely that he sneaks into the PFA pool, but he should garner plenty of interest as a camp QB, who could ultimately earn a long-term place on a practice squad and third quarterback in an NFL rotation.

Plumlee’s athleticism and arm talent are at the center of his evaluation. His athleticism allowed him to flourish as a runner and option threat all across his career, and his arm elasticity — sourced from his combined football and baseball background — allows him to expand throwing windows and layer pace and touch on throws. 

Plumlee could have better arm strength, but there’s more than enough arm talent to work with, and his ability as a creator adds an extra dimension to his offense.

On the flip side, as a pure passer, Plumlee may always be a bit limited. He’s over-reliant on his creation ability to a fault, and he doesn’t have the high-level anticipation or processing to take on substantial reps at the NFL level.

Nevertheless, Plumlee does have solid rotational mechanics and risk-averse tendencies. He also flashes exceptional situational precision when he’s able to maintain synergy.

As a low-cost late-round pick or PFA, Plumlee has tools worth investing in as a versatile QB3.


To finish things off, let’s take a look at the film…


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