The Pittsburgh Steelers could still make valuable roster pickups before training camp with USFL players like defensive end Chris Odom.
The inaugural season of the United States Football League reboot came to a close this past Sunday when the Birmingham Stallions overcame the Philadelphia Stars, 33-30, to win the championship.
As the league rule states, upon the conclusion of Sunday’s season finale, USFL players are officially permitted to field offers from NFL organizations. If an offer is made, and the current team the player is on agrees to release them from their contract, USFL players are free to join 90-man NFL rosters for training camp.
While the championship game was riddled with some of the leagues biggest stars, there is someone else who the Pittsburgh Steelers have expressed an interest in: Houston Gamblers defensive end USFL Defensive Player of the Year, Chris Odom.
According to Steeler Nation’s Matthew Tristan, Odom is exactly the type of player who could “really make some noise” on the Steelers.
USFL standout Chris Odom could be a steal for the Steelers defense
It should come as no surprise that the standout edge rusher started receiving calls immediately to work out for NFL teams. His 12.5 sacks led the entire league — with the next highest total for any player being 9 — and he has some previous experience around the NFL. In the past, he has been rostered by the Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, and Washington Commanders. Odom played in seven games for the Packers in 2017 and four games for the Commanders in 2019.
While the teams who have invited him for workouts are yet to be announced, the Steelers make for a very intriguing landing spot. TJ Watt was the 2021 Defensive Player of the Year, and Cameron Heyward made excellent contributions at defensive tackle, but the Pittsburgh defense as a whole struggled mightily against the run. They allowed the most rushing yards per game to their opponents last season (146), and are in the market to stack the box with better tacklers and more versatile athletes.
If he does join the Steelers roster, Odom would bring a variety of professional experience, a freshly-polished trophy in his case, and a chip on his shoulder that is deserving of an opportunity. As an undrafted free agent out of Arkansas State in 2017, he has played in the NFL, USFL, AFL, and CFL… but never gave up. With a new opportunity on the horizon, playing alongside TJ Watt with the Steelers could very well offer Odom the best chance at making a breakout into the NFL, proving the USFL a worthy destination for developing players.