Steelers Sign ‘Deep Sleeper’ WR With Elite Athleticism

Pittsburgh Steelers helmet

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On May 25 the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that they have inked former Harvard University and Sam Houston State wide receiver/kick returner Cody Chrest. The Steelers are Chrest’s second NFL team, as he signed with the Colts as a rookie undrafted free agent following the 2023 NFL Draft, but was released following Indy’s rookie minicamp.

Cody Chrest’s ‘Really Complicated’ Injury History

Chrest started his collegiate career at Harvard but after earning his undergraduate degree he transferred to Sam Houston State, where he had 131 receptions for 1,715 yards and nine touchdowns over the course of three seasons, while also earning a Master’s in Business Administration.

He played sparingly at Harvard until 2019, thanks to what he has described as a “really complicated” knee injury that left him at the bottom of the depth chart coming into his senior year. Then, during his last year of eligibility he had 45 catches for 706 yards and five touchdowns and while also serving as a gunner on special teams.

His injury challenges continued at Sam Houston State, however. Last year he told NFL Draft Diamonds that he “played through a torn labrum and an AC sprain” during the 2021 season. (For what it’s worth, he also told Jimmy Williams of NFL Draft Diamonds that he is a Green Bay Packers fan and that Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams are his favorite NFL players.)

Chrest Runs a 4.38 40-Yard Dash

Chrest — 6-feet-tall and 193 pounds — doesn’t have exceptional size, but he does have top-end athleticism. As noted by Kent Lee Platte of Pro Football Network, his speed (4.38 40-yard dash), agility and explosion numbers all approach the 90th percentile of tested wide receivers and rank him 73 out of 2,989 wide receivers from 1987 to 2023.

Building on that, Bleacher Report recently referred to him as one of eight “deep sleepers” in the 2023 draft class, noting that his change-of-direction numbers (short shuttle time of 4.12 and three-cone drill of 6.77) “would have ranked among the top two wide receivers at the combine.”

For his part, Chrest says NFL teams likened him to Cooper Kupp (Los Angeles Rams) and Hunter Renfrow (Las Vegas Raiders) during the pre-draft process.

Pittsburgh’s Offseason Roster Now Features 2 Former Bearkats

Chrest is the second Sam Houston State player to sign with the Steelers this offseason, following in the wake of outside linebacker Toby Ndukwe. Earlier this week the Steelers also signed former Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants edge rusher Markus Golden, who previously visited the team on May 23, 2023.

Chrest is the 14th wide receiver on Pittsburgh’s active roster, and will join players such as Gunner Olszewski, Miles Boykin, Cody White, Anthony Miller, Calvin Austin III, Hakeem Butler, Ja’Marcus Bradley, Dan Chisena, Dez Fitzpatrick and Jordan Byrd in competing for a roster spot.

Notably, Cody has twin younger brothers — Nick and Jaxson — who are pursuing football careers at Sam Houston State, with the former a defensive back and the latter a wide receiver. According to Nick Chrest’s Sam Houston State bio, their father spent time with both the Packers and Cleveland Browns in the 1970s and early ’80s.

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