On July 6, the agent for USFL Defensive Player of the Year Chris Odom revealed that his client has workouts scheduled with three different NFL teams, with perhaps more auditions to come.
3 workouts scheduled for @Chrisodom98 today. The calls are starting to come in fast for the USFL Defensive Player of the Year.
— Louis Bing (@AgentLouisBing) July 6, 2022
The Pittsburgh Steelers “need” to be one of the teams to hold a tryout for Odom, insists Dave Bryan of Steelers Depot, who is not the only NFL observer to suggest this possibility, with Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review being another.
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It would not be a surprise if the Steelers are one of three teams who are taking a look at Odom, as the depth behind reigning NFL DPOY T.J. Watt and fellow starter Alex Highsmith remains suspect.
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Former Denver Broncos seventh-round pick Derrek Tuszka is arguably the top backup at this point in time, and Tuszka had just two sacks, two quarterback hits and a forced fumble in 247 defensive snaps last season. Unless its former Eagles and Browns linebacker Genard Avery, who inked a one-year deal with the Steelers in March.
More recently the Steelers brought back onetime “camp phenom” Tuzar Skipper, not to mention Delontae Scott, who made his NFL debut against the Chargers in November of last year. Last but not least, there’s rookie undrafted free agent Tyree Johnson (Texas A&M), who has been named the Steelers’ UDFA to watch.
Chris Odom, 27, played defensive end for the USFL’s Houston Gamblers, but at 6-foot-4 and 257 pounds he would be an outside linebacker in Pittsburgh’s scheme.
He was named USFL Defensive Player of the Year on June 22, following a standout campaign in which he made more splash plays than any other defender, finishing as the league leader in sacks (12.5) and forced fumbles (6). He also had four blocked kicks and was credited with 41 tackles, including eight tackles for loss. Despite Odom’s efforts, the Gamblers finished 3-7 — in last place in the league’s South division.
🔥😤 @Chrisodom98 has been nightmare fuel for offenses around the league all season
The Defensive Player of the Year put on a show every week for the @USFLGamblers ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/MnoMARIkfO
— USFL (@USFL) June 22, 2022
Odom originally entered the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons in 2017 as an undrafted free agent out of Arkansas State. As a senior for the Red Wolves, he had 53 tackles, including 17.5 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. He went on to spend time with Green Bay and Washington, and has also played for the Salt Lake Stallions of the AAF and Calgary Stampeders of the CFL.
All told, he has 11 games of regular-season experience in the NFL (all of that with Green Bay and Washington), having been credited with 16 tackles (12 solo), plus two sacks, two quarterback hits and a forced fumble, as per Pro Football Reference.
If the Steelers decide not to pursue Odom, there are more established NFL players still available, including former Washington first-round pick Ryan Kerrigan, 33, who played for the Eagles in 2021. Another option might be Alex Okafor, 31, a former fourth-round pick who most recently played for the Kansas City Chiefs. Justin Houston is no longer a possibility; on Thursday July 7 he re-upped with the Baltimore Ravens, coming to an agreement on a one-year contract.
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