No. 2 Overall Pick in CFL Global Draft Among Tryouts at Steelers Rookie Minicamp

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On Friday May 13 the Pittsburgh Steelers opened their 2022 rookie minicamp, featuring the team’s most recent draft class and an assemblage of rookie undrafted free agents. Also in attendance: a sizeable group of non-roster invitees, each hoping to make enough of an impression to win a place on the 90-man roster.

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As per Mark Kaboly of The Athletic, the non-roster invitees include:

• WR Tre Tipton (Pittsburgh)
• OL Jack Badovinac (Illinois)
• OL P.J. Barr (Maine)
• OL Liam Fornadel (James Madison)
• OL Vitaliy Gurman (Toledo)
• OL Michael Maietti (Missouri)
• OL Vinny McConnell (Cincinnati)
• DL Tayland Humphrey (Louisiana)
• LB Tyler Dressler (Richmond)
• LB Jahad Woods (Washington State)
• DB Leandro DeBrito (Duquesne)
• DB Tyrell Ford (University of Waterloo)
• DB Tavin Harville (Robert Morris)
• DB Carlins Platel (South Carolina)
• RB Charles Williams (UNLV)
• P Bailey Flint (Toledo)

While it’s easy for fans to dismiss the chances of the above-named players making a name for themselves with the Steelers, it does happen, perhaps more often than one might think.

“Since 2013, the Steelers have signed 16 players who tried out during rookie minicamp,” notes Kaboly. In 2019 the team inked five tryout players, three of whom went on to become regular-season contributors in the NFL.


QB Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges Signed After Rookie Minicamp in 2019

That includes quarterback Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges, who signed for a mere $1,000 following that year’s rookie minicamp and went on to make six starts and appear in eight games that fall. Hodges retired from professional football last month, but another of the 2019 additions is still with the Steelers, namely backup defensive lineman Henry Mondeaux, who has played in 26 games (with two starts) over the past two seasons.

Then there’s former Toledo linebacker Tuzar Skipper, who turned into 2019’s “camp phenom,” recording 16 tackles and five sacks during the preseason that year. Skipper never made it with the Steelers but played in a total of 10 games with the New York Giants and Tennessee Titans in 2019-20, the latter of whom released him earlier this month, making him a free agent.


This Year’s Invitees Include Australian Punter Bailey Flint

So who are the most notable names among this year’s group of invitees, which include at least a half-dozen offensive linemen and at least four defensive backs?

One of the DBs is Tyrell Ford of the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, who was selected No. 13 overall in the 2022 CFL Draft. He’s the brother of University of Waterloo quarterback Tre Ford, who is the reigning Hec Crighton Trophy Winner and was being considered as a possible developmental quarterback until the Steelers selected South Dakota State’s Chris Oladokun in the seventh-round of the 2022 NFL draft.

There’s also one specialist, that being former Toledo Rockets punter Bailey Flint, a Melbourne, Australia native who was a 2021 nominee for the Ray Guy Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top punter. Flint averaged 40.3 yards per punt over five seasons with Toledo, but has also attracted notice for his off-the-field endeavors.

As noted by the Toronto Sun, Flint has already spent a year in Moscow studying acting, and has released a five-song EP titled The Heartbreak Club. More notably, he was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 CFL Global Draft, selected by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who traded up to grab him in that prime spot.

There’s also at least one wide receiver in the group, Tre Tipton, who will be familiar to Steelers first-round pick Kenny Pickett, as the two played together at Pitt, where Tipton caught 40 career passes for 406 yards and two receiving touchdowns. There’s a running back in the mix, too, that being Charles Williams — 5-foot-9 and 200 pounds — who rushed for 1,256 yards and 15 touchdowns during his final collegiate season at UNLV.

Last but not least, Gavin Greene — the son of late Steelers Hall of Famer Kevin Greene — is trying out, too, alongside fellow linebacker Damani Staley, the son of former Steelers running back Duce Staley.

All of the above hope to become the next Terence Garvin, a West Virginia linebacker who signed with the Steelers after a minicamp tryout in 2013 and played 43 games for Pittsburgh between 2013-15. He went on to appear in a total of 32 more games for Washington, Seattle and San Francisco before his NFL career came to an end in 2018.

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