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Steelers 2-a-days: Chris Steele, Linden Stephens aim to make impression in cornerbacks room – TribLIVE

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Editor’s note: From now until the first practice of training camp at Saint Vincent College, the Trib will be running through the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 90-man roster, assessing each player’s outlook for the 2022 season. The breakdown will go through the roster in mostly-alphabetical order, two per day, between June 11 and July 25. Contract data courtesy
Experience: Rookie
Contract status: $709,166 cap hit in 2022, signed through 2024
2022 outlook: Steele was one of the nation’s most highly-recruited cornerbacks four years ago; he signed with Florida but never made it to the fall there before transferring back close to home at USC. But as a five-star recruit, he never lived up to expectations for the Trojans (albeit he did start for 2½ seasons). Still, with his pedigree, sub-4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash and better-than-average size (6 feet, 187 pounds), there is some talent to work with at the NFL level. As such, Steele left school even though he had two years of potential eligibility remaining.
Steele, though, went undrafted. The Steelers signed him in the hours after the draft ended, giving him a not-insignificant $12,500 bonus. While he’s an extreme longshot to have any role on the defense as a rookie, Steele is a viable practice-squad candidate if he shows enough during training camp. His absolute ceiling for 2022, though, is as a special-teamer. Even if he stands out among the younger cornerbacks, there are too many bodies ahead of Steele on the depth chart.
USC cornerback Chris Steele announces on Instagram that he is declaring for the NFL Draft
— Adam Grosbard (@AdamGrosbard) December 19, 2021

Experience: 16 NFL regular-season games over the 2019-20 seasons
Contract status: $895,000 cap hit if he makes the active roster in 2022
2022 outlook: In the 4½ years since he entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent, Stephens has made nine stops and has been the property of eight teams. The eighth, the Steelers, signed him to their practice squad last October and he’s remained in the organization since. He hasn’t played a regular-season snap since appearing in 13 games (35 snaps on defense, 164 on special teams) for the Seattle Seahawks in 2020.
The son of a former NFL linebacker, Stephens has played on the outside and in the slot, and he is an accomplished special-teamer. As such, he shouldn’t be totally ruled out for consideration for a roster spot come the season opener.
Hey, Steelers Nation, get the latest news about the Pittsburgh Steelers here.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at or via Twitter .
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