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What's intriguing about 9 undrafted rookies

Posted May 14, 2014

After the draft was completed, the Steelers signed 9 college free agents. A look at those players

What’s intriguing about the Steelers’ undrafted rookies:

* CHRIS ELKINS, OL, Youngstown State (6-foot-4, 300 pounds): Has played guard and center and did a good job against Pitt’s Aaron Donald in a 31-17 victory by YSU over Pitt in 2012 at Heinz Field.

* ETHAN HEMER, DE, Wisconsin (6-6, 285): Began college career as a walk-on and was named Wisconsin’s Scout Team Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 before eventually earning a scholarship in 2012 and third-team All-Big Ten honors in 2013.

* KAYCEE IKE, (pictured above) OT, UAB (6-5, 293): Has long arms and described himself to AL.com as “athletic for my size,” and as “a hard worker who can come in and compete.”

* HOWARD JONES, LB, Shepherd (6-4, 238): Has attention-getting athleticism (4.6 in the 40-yard dash, a 10-4 vertical leap) which made him a highly-coveted player once the draft concluded. Left Shepherd University as the school’s all-time career leader in sacks with 35.

* BRENDON KAY, QB, Cincinnati (6-4, 228): Went 12-4 as a starter and exhibited toughness while battling through injuries. He also has the measurables the NFL prefers for prospects at his position.

* JOSH MAURO, DE, Stanford (6-6, 282): Has a Brett Keisel body type (but not Keisel speed) and some experience playing in a 3-4 scheme for a Cardinal program that has appeared in four consecutive BCS games.

* ROY PHILON, DT, Louisville (6-3, 291): Played with NFL first-round picks Calvin Pryor (Jets) and Marcus Smith (Eagles) on a defense that is very similar to the Steelers’ due to Louisville coaching staff ties with Green Bay’s Dom Capers, a former defensive coordinator in Pittsburgh.

* WILL SIMMONS, G, East Carolina, (6-5, 342): A four-year letterman, three-year starter and two-time All-Conference USA selection who played for offenses that produced the top four passing seasons in ECU history and achieved national Top 10 rankings in passing offense, scoring offense, third-down conversions and red zone efficiency.

* ERIC WATERS, TE, Missouri (6-5, 245): Contributed mostly as an in-line blocker for an offense that rushed for more than 3,000 yards in 2013.

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