Steelers Add RB to Practice Squad, QB Next?


Scott Taetsch/Getty Images Running back Wendell Smallwood playing for the Washington Football Team in 2019.

On Sunday the Pittsburgh Steelers added 14 players to their 2020 practice squad, bringing back many of the players who were released a day earlier. None of the players added could be considered a surprise, except perhaps punter Corliss Waitman, though this could be related to reports that the team plans to sign Dustin Colquitt, son of former Steelers punter Craig Colquitt, who collected two Super Bowl rings with Pittsburgh in the late 1970s.

On Monday the Steelers filled one of the two remaining vacancies on the practice squad by adding running back Wendell Smallwood, so there are now two RB’s on the practice squad, the other being University of Maryland product Trey Edmunds.

Wendell Smallwood’s NFL Experience

Pittsburgh signed the former Washington and Philadelphia Eagles RB on the eve of training camp. Smallwood played in 15 games for Washington last season, with 22 carries for 81 yards, a 3.7-yard average. He also added nine receptions for 64 yards.

Smallwood was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fifth-round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the 153rd overall selection. In three seasons with the Eagles he started a total of twelve games and totaled 211 carries for 850 yards and five touchdowns. During those three years he also caught 47 passes for 388 yards, an average of 8.3 yards per reception.

Smallwood played his college football at the University of West Virginia.

One Remaining Place on Pittsburgh’s Practice Squad

It’s very possible that the Steelers plan to use the 16th and final place on their practice squad on a quarterback—possibly bringing back Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges, assuming he clears waivers.

Owing to the ongoing threat of the coronavirus, it would make sense to keep him around—possibly isolated from the rest of the quarterbacks—as he already has significant experience in Pittsburgh’s system and could step up in an emergency.

Another Contract Extension Forthcoming?

While you’ve probably already heard about the four-year contract extension that defensive end Cameron Heyward signed last night, there might be another player signed to an extension before the regular season opener.

Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that there are negotiations taking place with at least one other player.

The most likely candidates would seem to be offensive lineman Matt Feiler, slot cornerback Mike Hilton or defensive back Cameron Sutton. Then there’s wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, running back James Conner and offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, all among the team’s top pending unrestricted free agents entering 2021.

Heyward’s extension keeps him with the Steelers through 2024 at a total cost of $75.1 million.

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