Outside linebacker Ola Adeniyi has been stepping outside of his comfort zone at OTAs.
"That's what OTAs are for, working on something new," the first-year pro maintained. "Hopefully, whatever you learn you can take it into training camp, and then work it from there, and then the preseason and so on and so forth."
For Adeniyi, that approach included an opportunity to perfect his pass-coverage skills in a 7-on-7 drill today during OTA No. 6.
He was rewarded with an interception.
"I probably dropped to the flats maybe once or twice my junior year," Adeniyi assessed of his tenure at Toledo. "Definitely this offseason I was trying to work on that aspect of my game because I never really did that in college.
"And last year I didn't really have the opportunity to do that."
Adeniyi flashed last offseason as an undrafted free agent but started the season on the reserve/injured list.
He made it onto the active roster in time to make his first and only appearance of 2018 on Dec. 2 against the Chargers (Adeniyi was inactive for the final four games).
Today, he had a ball by getting his hands on a pass thrown by quarterback Josh Dobbs that was intended for wide receiver Diontae Spencer (a first-year free agent from McNeese State and the CFL),
The Steelers participate in day 6 of the 2019 Organized Team Activities at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex
"Man-coverage," Adeniyi confirmed.
It was a highlight, but not the ultimate.
"I'd rather have a sack," he said. "You get paid as an edge rusher to get sacks, not to get picks.
"If they come, they come."
Toward that end, Adeniyi has likewise been honing his pass-rushing craft, trying to become more versatile and, as a result, more effective.
"I feel like I'm definitely good off the edge speed rushing," he explained. "But I also want to add some counters just in case the tackle over-sets, be able to come back swatting the hands, spin moves, things like that."
Starting outside linebacker T.J. Watt has noticed, and has appreciated the effort.
"It's still so early, but I think Ola's definitely making some improvements," Watt observed. "Just seeing him try new pass-rushing moves, I think that's the biggest thing for any pass rusher is to try different moves at this time of year because who cares if you fail?
"Just go out there and try as many things as you can. I think Ola's doing a good job of that."
Added Adeniyi: "I'm still considered a young guy. I don't think I've earned that right to be called a vet yet or anything such as that. I'm just going to try to keep developing. I was on IR for most of the (2018) season so I don't feel like I did anything at all.
"I'm trying to come in here, hopefully do the same thing I did last year, earn a spot."