Christian Sam of the Dallas Cowboys and Dejuan Neal of the Washington Commander are two USFL alumni who have signed NFL contracts so far prior to the upcoming new season. This trend is expected to accelerate as the NFL training camps are starting to open and according to reports, the Pittsburgh Steelers could be the next team to sign USFL players.
ESPN’s Field Yates revealed that the Steelers held trial games for five players who played in the USFL this season one week before training camp. A total of five defensive linemen, including Doug Costin, Freedom Akinmoladun, Domenique Davis, Dondrea Tillman, and Willie Yarbary, participated in the tryouts.
Costin, 24, was a member of the Birmingham Stallions this season. After the 2020 NFL Draft, he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Miami (Ohio). Previously, he had 33 tackles in 13 games for the Jaguars before joining Birmingham this season, and he has also played for the Cincinnati Bengals.
The 26-year-old Akinmoladun was a member of the Philadelphia Stars. In 2019, he signed as an undrafted free agent with the New York Giants. He has only played in five NFL games and has four total tackles.
Florida native Davis, played for the Houston Gamblers last season, recording 57 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Even though the Gamblers had a 3-7 record, in the end, their defensive line had some of the top players in the USFL. He also played for the New York Jets and played college football at UNC-Pembroke, where he had six tackles for loss and three sacks last season.
Tillman also served as a defensive end for the Stallions alongside Costin. He had 20 tackles and two sacks on the season. He may be a familiar name to Steelers fans from his time as a two-time PSAC West selection at the local IUP. With a weight of 247 pounds, he’d be more of an EDGE rusher in Pittsburgh’s system.
Yarbary attended Wake Forest University and has worked out for the Los Angeles Chargers, though he has yet to appear in an NFL game. He was the Stallions’ third defensive lineman this season, recording 15 tackles and four sacks. Check out the best new bookmakers for betting on the NFL.
The Steelers recently retired defensive tackle Daniel Archibong, and Stephon Tuitt also announced his retirement this offseason. Following Tuitt’s retirement, the team signed Larry Ogunjobi and appears to be looking to add another player.
Last season, Archibong saw limited action for the Steelers after being called up to the 53rd team and given a helmet due to several injuries to the team’s defensive line. He played in two games, totaling 13 snaps and recording two tackles in a team losing to the Los Angeles Chargers.
It should be noted that Archibong’s NFL career started with Chicago, where he signed as an undrafted free agent in 2021. He played college football at Temple, where he recorded 21 tackles and two sacks as a senior. He had ten tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks in his college career.
Archibong’s spot on the list will be filled by one of these players whom Pittsburgh intends to sign as their 90th man. Costin appears to have the finest NFL profile, but it comes down to who appears to be the fittest mentally, and physically.
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