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The Steelers UDFA Signing Nobody Is Talking About, But Should

The Steelers did not bring in many undrafted free agents following the 2024 NFL Draft, but there were still a couple signings which were specifically intriguing. I would say the most intriguing signing is most definitely Beanie Bishop, Jr., and he certainly has a growing fan base. However, he is not the only undrafted free agent with a shot at making the roster.

The Steelers appear to have better depth at inside linebacker than they have had in quite some time, but after the injury woes last season, depth is never guaranteed to last. Patrick Queen, Cole Holcomb, Elandon Roberts, and Payton Wilson all appear to have secured roster spots, but if the Steelers keep a fifth on the roster, there is some competition.

Despite popular opinion, I actually liked what I saw from Mark Robinson in limited action in 2024, but he is still a liability in coverage. Despite his playmaking ability against the run, he faces an uphill battle as it pertains to locking up a roster spot. Kyron Johnson is another intriguing name, as his athleticism and fluidity in coverage could provide value to the Steelers in obvious passing situations. Still, three years into his NFL career, he has been unable to stick anywhere. He has to become a more consistent tackler. Linebackers David Perales and Tyler Murray could compete for spots on the practice squad, but nobody is expecting them to compete for a roster spot. There is, however, one other name we have yet to mention: Jacoby Windmon.

Windmon started his collegiate career at UNLV but saw minimal time his freshman year. In Year 2, he did not see action until late October, but it did not take him long to get acclimated with the starting unit. He caught people’s attention when faced against Fresno State, notching 9 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 2 passes defended. Windmon only played 6 games that season, but he recorded at least 0.5 tackles for loss in every one.

His final season at UNLV was the healthiest of his collegiate career, and the numbers reflect it. In 12 games, Windmon recorded an eye-popping 119 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. Perhaps the best game of his career came against a dominant San Diego State team, racking up 12 tackles and 3 sacks.

After boosting his stock nationally, Windmon made the decision to take his talents to Michigan State, where he played his final two seasons. In his first two games alone for the Spartans, he amassed 6.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. His season was shortened once again, but this time, it was due to an altercation he was involved in following MSU’s matchup against archrival Michigan. This past season, Windmon suffered a pectoral muscle injury suffered against Richmond, which, for the most part, put an end to his season. This injury dropped his draft stock from a Day 3 pick to a projected undrafted free agent.

He was indeed signed undrafted by the Steelers, and now he has a chance to compete for a roster spot in a crowded linebacker room. But what does he provide the Steelers?

Windmon’s versatility is something the Steelers will appreciate. He is experienced both at inside linebacker as well as defensive end, and he has played both at a high level when healthy. His size definitely indicates inside linebacker, but when you turn on his tape in 2022, I honestly liked him better as a pass rusher on the edge. Despite a small frame for an EDGE defender, Windmon did a nice job setting the edge in the run game. His first-step quickness is rather impressive, and he knows how to disengage from blockers. His ability to read and react combined with his strong tackling prowess is why he saw so much success as a run defender. He simply has a knack for being around the ball and finding ways to get to the ball carrier.

While that is enough to get just about anyone excited, expectations must be held in check. Windmon’s athleticism is merely average for an inside linebacker, and there are questions as to how he will hold up in coverage at the next level. At 6’1″, 235 pounds, Windmon ran a 4.65 in the 40, put up 16 reps on the bench, jumped 31″ in the vertical and 115″ in the broad, timed 4.4 in the short shuttle, and recorded a 7.31 in the 3-cone drill. There are also valid concerns about his fluidity and backpedal in coverage, which could greatly limit his impact in passing situations.

At the end of the day, it is far from a certainty Jacoby Windmon makes this roster, but for someone who ended his collegiate career with 233 tackles, 30.5 tackles for loss, and 18 sacks despite multiple injuries and a suspension, he deserves a little more buzz than what he is currently getting. Keep an eye on this player as we approach the preseason, as he could quickly make an impact and take the unfamiliar fan by surprise.


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