Steelers Lose Safety to Cardinals, Former Pittsburgh TE Joins Ravens

Xavier-Grimble-Steelers

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images Xavier Grimble of the Pittsburgh Steelers carries the ball against the Denver Broncos on November 25, 2018.

On Wednesday the Arizona Cardinals signed Pittsburgh Steelers safety Curtis Riley off of Pittsburgh’s practice squad, according to Brooke Pryor of ESPN.com.

Last week, Riley was one of the four practice squad players the Steelers chose to protect, but he was not protected this week, giving Arizona the chance to add him to its active roster.

Riley was a part of Pittsburgh’s opening day roster, but he was released—and then signed to the practice squad—after the Steelers had the opportunity to bring back former second-round pick Sean Davis, who had been released by the Washington Football Team.

Riley played in 16 games for the Raiders last season, including three starts, and contributed 34 tackles. His best NFL season came in 2018 when he started all 16 games for the New York Giants, recording 75 tackles and four interceptions, including a pick-six against Washington.


This Week’s Protected Practice Squad Players

This week Pittsburgh decided to protect the following four players on its practice squad, according to Pryor.

LB Jayrone Elliott
OT Derwin Gray
DE Henry Mondeaux
RB Wendell Smallwood

Three of the four above-named players were protected for week one. It’s hardly a surprise that offensive tackle Derwin Gray replaced Riley on the list this week, considering the season-ending injury suffered by starting right tackle Zach Banner.


Baltimore Ravens Add Xavier Grimble

In other news, on Wednesday the Baltimore Ravens signed free agent tight end Xavier Grimble to their practice squad.

Grimble played in 47 games with the Steelers between 2016 and 2019, catching 23 passes for 239 yards with three touchdown catches. He spent time with the New York Giants, New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers before he joined Pittsburgh’s practice squad and established himself from there.


Steelers’ Chase Claypool the Highest-Rated Rookie in Week One

Finally, it’s worth noting that Steelers rookie receiver Chase Claypool was Pro Football Focus’ highest-rated rookie in the NFL for week one.

Claypool had two catches for 39 yards in his NFL debut, plus one rushing attempt for eight yards. While he only ran seven pass routes, he produced the best catch of the night, one befitting his reputation for being strong on contested catches.

PFF’s ratings also help illustrate how well Pittsburgh played on defense against the Giants this past Monday.

Far and away, the Steelers were number one in the NFL this past week in most pressures generated within 2.5 seconds.

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones was pressured on more than half of his dropbacks, the only QB who experienced said pressure more than half the time.

Last but not least, according to PFF, Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt graded out the best at his position in week one, leading PFF to name Watt their Defensive MVP of the Week.

“He was the only edge defender in the league who produced grades above 80.0 against the run and as a pass-rusher, and of course, he came down with [a] clutch interception.”

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