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Steelers 2-a-days: Record-setting kicker Nick Sciba, longshot slot WR candidate Steven Sims – 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: $705,000 cap hit in 2022, signed through 2024
2022 outlook: College football has been around for more than a century and a half — and in that time, no kicker at any college has made a greater percentage of his field goal attempts over the course of his career than Sciba did at Wake Forest (89.9). Also, none have ever made 34 field goal kicks in a row, like Sciba did.
None of that was enough to get Sciba drafted, though — and no team even signed him as an undrafted free agent immediately after the draft. Sciba earned an invite to the Steelers’ rookie minicamp as a tryout, and he showed management enough that they signed him to the 90-man roster. The team chose Sciba over Sam Sloman, who bounced on and off its practice squad late last season.
At 5-foot-9, Sciba’s liability is lack of proven high-caliber, NFL-level leg strength. He never made a field goal of 50 or more yards over four years for Wake Forest; he had no makes of more than 46 yards the past three seasons. But, Sciba did make a 52-yarder during the Hula Bowl all-star game.
This all is probably moot as it relates to the Steelers, of course, because they have one of the NFL’s best kickers in Chris Boswell. So barring a camp injury, Sciba’s audition might be more for 31 other teams. Then again, Boswell is in the final year of his contract and if negotiations on an extension do not materialize fruitfully, Boswell has a mediocre season and Sciba impresses, who knows?
Wake Forest kicker Nick Sciba never hit a field goal over 50 yards during his #GoDeacs career. This is good from 52 at the #HulaBowl
— Oliver Hodgkinson (@ojhodgkinson) January 15, 2022

Experience: 29 games over three seasons (one for the Steelers) since going undrafted in 2019
Contract status: Potential $895,000 cap hit in 2022 if he makes the active roster
2022 outlook: The Steelers sometimes seem to like smaller wide receivers, perhaps recognizing a market inefficiency in acquiring them. Sims was added to the practice squad just before last year’s regular season began after he’d spent two full seasons as a regular part of the offense for Washington. Undrafted out of Kansas in 2019, the 5-10, 176-pound Sims played on offense for all 28 games he was healthy over his first two NFL seasons. He also was the then-Redskins’ primary kickoff returner as a rookie and he was the then-Washington Football Team’s primary punt returner in 2020.
His numbers doing the latter duties, however, were middling. Perhaps that’s part of why Washington let him go during last year’s training camp. Sims had accumulated 61 receptions for 575 yards and five touchdowns over his time in Washington. Sims also failed to stick with the Buffalo Bills late last summer.
But Sims’ shtick is to play the slot — and that is a position from which the Steelers lost two players in free agency (JuJu Smith-Schuster and Ray-Ray McCloud) and have no obvious replacement lined up. If rookie Calvin Austin can’t handle the gig and the Steelers believe Chase Claypool is better on the outside, the slot receiver job is wide open and Sims could perhaps make a run at it.
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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