Steelers Add Ex-Cowboys WR With Knack for ‘Circus Catches’

Wide receiver Jaquarii Roberson

Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images Jaquarii Roberson of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after a special teams play against the Denver Broncos on August 13, 2022.

On Wednesday the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that they have inked wide receiver Jaquarii Roberson to the practice squad. Roberson — who is listed as 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds — is an undrafted rookie free agent out of Wake Forest who signed with the Dallas Cowboys following the 2022 draft. He was released during the preseason when the Cowboys cut their roster to 80 players.

Jaquarii Roberson: A ‘Savvy, Natural Pass-Catcher’

Over the course of four seasons with the Demon Deacons, Roberson appeared in a total of 40 games and caught a total of 146 passes for 2,158 yards and 17 touchdown catches.

“Production was booming for Roberson in the ACC,” wrote Kyle Youmans after the 24-year-old joined the Cowboys. He scored eight TDs in each of his last two college seasons and he holds the school’s single-season record for receiving yards per game, having averaged 102.9 yards a game in 2020.

As part of its pre-draft profile, NFL Draft Buzz described Roberson as a “savvy, natural pass-catcher with reliable hands and very good focus. Snatches the ball out of the air and shows the concentration to make acrobatic catches look easy.” On the downside, he “lacks ideal size and strength” and “NFL defenders may be able to knock him off his route because of his slight frame.”

Meanwhile, Andrew Shaver of Steelers Depot called Roberson a “slot receiving threat” and a receiver who “chews up zone coverage schemes with regularity.” In addition, “he can make the circus catches on high throws while timing jumps very well.”

On the downside, Shaver notes that Roberson is “not physically imposing in his routes.” Also, he has very limited experience on special teams, which could hinder his chances to be anything more than a practice squad receiver.

OLB Hamilcar Rashed Jr. to Practice Squad Injured Reserve

To make room for Roberson on the 16-man practice squad, the Steelers placed outside linebacker Hamilcar Rashed Jr. on the practice squad reserve/injured list. Rashed has been with the team since August 10, when he was claimed on waivers from the New York Jets.

Rashed, 24, is a former undrafted free agent out of Oregon State who originally joined the Jets last year. He failed to make New York’s 53-man roster as a rookie but was signed to the practice squad in September 2021 and was elevated to the active roster for the team’s Week 10 game, during which he made one tackle.

Thus far Rashed is the only Steelers player on practice squad injured reserve, but Pittsburgh already has six players on its regular injured reserve list, including rookie wide receiver Calvin Austin III, who distinguished himself early in training camp, then suffered a foot injury on August 12.

Also on the list is veteran safety Damontae Kazee (wrist surgery), as well as third-year running back Jeremy McNichols and rookie defensive back Carlins Platel.

The last two players on injured reserve are out for the year, namely safety Karl Joseph and wide receiver Anthony Miller.

The team opens its 17-game regular-season slate on Sunday September 11 at 1 p.m. ET against the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium.

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