On Labor Day the Pittsburgh Steelers put the finishing touches on their 16-man practice squad by signing three more players, including safety Andrew Adams and cornerback Josh Jackson.
Jackson, 26, is a 2018 second-round pick of the Green Bay Packers, selected No. 45 overall out of Iowa. He started 10 of the 16 games in which he appeared as rookie but played a lesser role in 2019-2020. He was traded to the Giants in August 2021 but never appeared in a game for New York. After he was released by the Giants in late October 2021 he spent time with Kansas City, appearing in two games for the Chiefs. He spent this summer with the Cardinals, having signed with Arizona in mid-June.
To date Jackson has appeared in 44 regular-season games (with 15 starts), recording 90 tackles, including two tackles for loss, 12 passes defensed and one fumble recovery, as per Pro Football Reference.
He figures to provide insurance in case of injury to rostered cornerbacks Ahkello Witherspoon, Cameron Sutton, Levi Wallace and James Pierre. He also has experience playing in the slot, so he could fill in for Arthur Maulet.
He’s one of two cornerbacks on the practice squad, the other being Mark Gilbert, who is the cousin of former four-time first-team All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis and the nephew of former NFL defensive lineman Sean Gilbert.
Gilbert originally signed with the Steelers in May of last year and started the 2021 season on the practice squad. He was poached by the Lions six weeks later and spent the rest of the season with Detroit. The Steelers had the opportunity to get him back after he was waived by the Lions on August 29.
LB Delontae Scott Re-Signed
Meanwhile, last spot on the practice squad went to outside linebacker Delontae Scott, who had been released on August 30 when the Steelers cut down to their 53-man roster.
Scott was originally signed to Pittsburgh’s practice squad on September 7, 2021. He was elevated to the active roster and made his regular-season debut against the Los Angeles Chargers last November. He entered the NFL in 2020, signing with the Packers as an undrafted free agent out of SMU.
The Andy Weidl Effect?
Notably, at least five of the players signed to Pittsburgh’s practice squad have a connection to Andy Weidl, including aforementioned safety Andrew Adams. Weidel, of course, is Pittsburgh’s new assistant general manager. He was one of six finalists for the general manager job that went to Omar Khan; he came over from the Eagles, where he was vice president of player personnel.
The other practice squad signees who played for the Eagles or spent time in Philly are: safety Elijah Riley, running back Jason Huntley, defensive lineman Renell Wren and rookie guard William Dunkle, who played his college football at San Diego State.
Dunkle — 6-foot-5 and 319 pounds — signed with Philadelphia in early May after going undrafted, but was released on August 14.
NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein has described Dunkle as “an aggressive guard with broad, powerful frame but limited upside…. Athletic opponents will cause him to struggle, but his size, strength and toughness give him a shot to find future starting reps even though his grade and tape is more in line with a backup role.”