On Sunday the Tennessee Titans waived linebacker Tuzar Skipper to make room for veteran edge rusher John Simon, a former fourth-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens who spent the past three seasons with the New England Patriots.
It seems doubtful the Pittsburgh Steelers will make a waiver claim for Skipper now that the team has former Los Angeles Chargers Pro Bowler Melvin Ingram III in the fold, but it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility.
Steelers fans will recall that Skipper flashed impressive pass rushing skills in the summer of 2019, recording five sacks in four preseason games while also forcing a fumble. That led then-Steelers radio broadcaster Tunch Ilkin to label Skipper the team’s “camp phenom,” describing him as “really quick upfield, [with] a quick change of direction. He doesn’t waste steps. He’s a guy that’s very, very efficient in his pass rush. He’s got a nice body lean, so he’ll get the edge … and he just has an uncanny anticipation of the snap count. That’s what makes him so effective….”
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Skipper Has Bounced Around the NFL for the Past 2 Years
Working against Skipper is that he hasn’t been able to earn a regular role in any of his NFL stops. After the Steelers waived him prior to the 2019 regular season he was picked up by the New York Giants, where he was on the roster for six games, contributing three tackles, a fumble recovery and half a sack.
In December 2019 the Steelers plucked him off New York’s practice squad and inked him to a two-year contract extension. But he failed to make Pittsburgh’s regular-season roster in 2020 and went on to spend most of last year on Tennessee’s practice squad. He did, however, appear in four games and make two starts, during which time he contributed five total tackles (four solo). That was enough for him to earn a one-year Reserve/Future contract with the Titans for 2021.
If Skipper does end up back with the Steelers, he would have relatively little competition, at least as compared to most of the other positions on the team.
At the moment the No. 4 edge rusher is NFL vagabond Cassius Marsh, who recently made news by criticizing select aspects of “The Patriot Way.” The Steelers also have rookie sixth-round pick Quincy Roche, who was included on a list of the 10 biggest “steals” of the 2021 NFL Draft. After that the Steelers employ: Jamar Watson, who played his final college season for the UMass in 2019 after graduating from Penn State; and Jamir Jones, a former undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame.
If Jamir Jones’ name sounds vaguely familiar, it might be because his brother, offensive tackle Jarron Jones, spent most of the past year with the Steelers. But Jarron was recently released after he was arrested for the second time in nine months on alleged domestic violence charges.
Tennessee Has 2 Other Ex-Steelers Linebackers on its Roster
Meanwhile, the Titans still employ two other former Steelers linebackers in Bud Dupree and Ola Adeniyi, both of whom were signed as unrestricted free agents back in March.
Dupree, who is recovering from a torn ACL suffered in early December of 2020, doesn’t figure to see action anytime soon. Over the weekend he was placed on Tennessee’s Physically Unable to Perform list.
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