Steelers Sign Impressive Crop of Undrafteds

The Steelers put one significant matter behind them by signing an impressive crop of undrafted rookies this morning. Click to read Jim Wexell's opinion.

Obviously, we're talking about undrafted rookies here, but stilll I'm excited about any class that includes Weslye Saunders, John Clay, Anthony Gray, Mario Harvey, and Terrence McCrae, among others.

The Steelers had those names on the list of undrafted rookie free agents they've signed this first morning of league activity, and in my opinion it's a first-rate class that was quickly done. So the Steelers are off to an outstanding start in what figures to be a crazy but key couple of days.

Here's the alphabetic breakdown of the Steelers' new rookies:

* Vaughn Charlton, TE/HB (Temple) -- a former starting quarterback, Charlton (6-5, 253, 5.14, 18 reps) was moved to tight end before his senior season. He started nine games at QB as a junior, 16 throughout his career.

* John Clay, HB (Wisconsin) -- the 2009 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, the 6-0 1/2, 230-pounder weighed as much as 270 pounds last season in losing his job before leaving school a year early. Clay is a strong inside runner who has tiny hands and needs work as a pass-blocker.

* Terrence McCrae, WR (Ohio) -- the nephew of the great Sam Davis (LG and offensive captain throughout the Steelers' reign in the 70s), the 6-2 5/8, 194-pound McCrae is a red-zone target who caught 18 touchdown passes the last two seasons. At his pro day he ran a 4.55 40 and jumped 35 inches. He benched 225 pounds only 8 times.

* Armand Robinson, WR (Miami University) -- from Ben Roethlisberger's alma mater, Robinson was the hero of the game that temporarily gave Michael Haywood the Pitt job. Robinson (5-11 3/8, 197) caught a 33-yard touchdown pass with 33 seconds remaining to give Miami the win over Northern Illinois in the MAC championship game. Robinson finished that game with 14 catches for 176 yards, finished the season with 94 catches for 1,062 yards, and finished his career with 210 catches for 2,550 yards and 15 touchdowns. He ran a slow 4.73 40 at his pro day, but had impressive measurements in the bench (19) and 3-cone drill (6.45). (Pro day times and measures courtesy of

* Adam Mims, WR (Furman) -- a 5-7 1/2, 193-pound flanker rushed for 242 yards (7.1 ypr), caught 198 passes for 2,433 yards and 13 touchdowns, and averaged 10.1 and 19.5 yards on punt and kickoff returns in his career at the Division 1-AA level.

* Weslye Saunders, TE (South Carolina) -- a massive 6-5 1/8, 270-pounder at times looked like Eric Green on the field, and acted like him off it. Well worth the risk as an undrafted rookie, Saunders was kicked off his team after a series of suspensions over missed meetings (thought he was turning pro at time), dealings with an agent, and allegedly lying to his coaches. Saunders also suffered a foot injury at the combine and did not run. If he heard Steve Spurrier's wake-up call and turned his attitude around, Saunders could become a great find.

* Colin Miller, C (Central Michigan) -- Antonio Brown's former teammate won't receive many camp reps behind Maurkice Pouncey, Doug Legursky and Dorian Brooks in the pivot. He's a 6-3, 300-pounder who was named second team All-MAC the last two seasons.

* Trevis Turner, OT (Abilene Christian) -- massive 6-7 1/8, 333-pound RT/OG was a first team Division II All-America and a three-year starter at Abilene Christian.

* Brent Greenwood, S (Iowa) -- a highly touted free safety coming into last season, Greenwood was outplayed (and outdrafted) by Tyler Sash in the Iowa deep patrol, but the 5-11 1/4, 198-pound Greenwood still intercepted 5 of his 12 last season. His pro day time was 4.67 with a 3-cone time of 6.85.

* Niles Brinkley, CB (Wisconsin) -- father Lorenzo Brinkley was drafted by the Steelers in the fourth round in 1972 out of Missouri but did not make the team. Niles is a short-but-tough (5-9 1/2, 193) zone corner who ran a 4.54 40 at the combine. A part-time starter before his senior season, Brinkley intercepted 6 passes at Wisconsin and made 127 career tackles.

* Erik Clanton, OLB (Citadel) -- already signed and released by the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, Clanton recorded 9 sacks and 14 tackles for loss as a Citadel DE last season. A conversion prospect who has trouble adding weight, Clanton measured 6-3 1/4, 242 at his pro day. He ran the 40 in 4.83 and had 11 bench reps.

* Mario Harvey, MLB (Marshall) -- an undrafted sub 6-footer, Harvey (5-11 1/4, 250) was ultra productive. He was a three-and-a-half year starter at middle linebacker for Marshall and captained the unit last season. He led the team in tackles the last three seasons and could spell the end of Keyaron Fox's time in Pittsburgh if he plays up to his 4.6 40 time.

* Miguel Chavis, DE (Clemson) -- A 6-4 1/4, 281-pounder who endured foot and ankle injuries last season, but not much information about Chavis is available on the 'net, other than he worked out shirtless at his pro day in tight white shorts that resembled underwear.

* Anthony Gray, DT (Southern Miss) -- Another sub 6-footer, the 5-11 3/8, 330-pounder was coveted by the Steelers coming into the draft process because of his strength at the point (39 reps) and constant hustle. His signing could cause the Steelers to let Chris Hoke leave via free agency.

* Eric Greenwood, WR (Idaho) -- at 6-6, 212, here's another red-zone target for Steelers quarterbacks. Greenwood ran a 4.62 40 at his pro day with a 6.77 3-cone time and only 4 bench reps. Greenwood made most of his 89 career catches the last two seasons. In his final four games, he caught 17 passes for 311 yards and 4 touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime in the finale against San Jose State.


* Josh Harrison OT (South Carolina State) -- Thirty-seven years ago, the Steelers signed SC State's Donnie Shell after the draft and he became the NFL's all-time leading interceptor at strong safety. Harrison is 6-3 7/8, 305-pounds with a 5.28 40 time and a 30 1/2-inch vertical jump. He was a two-year starter at left tackle at Division 1-AA SCS last season, and was named MEAC O-Lineman of the Year after anchoring a unit that allowed only 11 sacks. Harrison grew up in Florence, S.C., home of linebacker Lawrence Timmons.

* Ty Boyle, DE (North Dakota) -- was a defensive tackle for the Fighting Sioux of North Dakota, a Division 1-AA school. He had 2 career sacks and 11 1/2 tackles for loss. Pro day numbers for the Academic All-America from International Falls, MN: 6-2 7/8, 279, 5.14.

* Derek Chard, LS (Connecticut) -- a two-year starter, Chard (6-2 3/4, 243, 5.08, 30 VJ, 19 reps) was highly regarded by his head coach at UConn and could come to Pittsburgh and replace a veteran the way Greg Warren did as an undrafted free agent in 2005.

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