Prior to taking the practice field Thursday, newly signed Pittsburgh Steelers RB Master Teague III took time to talk to the media for the first time after the team signed him yesterday after Jeremy McNichols got placed on IR with a shoulder injury.
When asked what he brings to the table in terms of help his chances to make the roster, Teague responded immediately with his strongest skill set as a runner: his strength and power.
“Thumper, man,” Teague said to reporters after practice on video via Steelers Live on Twitter. “You know, north-south runner. Like I can gain him hard yards, the YAC yards and I think that’s a plus of mine. Also, I want to make an impact pass blocking. Something that I feel like that we talked about we want to bring; they want to bring here.”
Having just completed a film room breaking down Teague’s game, I can personally attest that he excels in short yardage and goal line situations as a power back. Teague can be a bruiser in-between the tackles, often churning his legs on contact to fight for extra yards like he mentioned, making life difficult for defenders trying to bring him down.
Teague also mentioned pass protection as an area he can make an impact. When watching him at Ohio State, the 5’11, 220lb runner has the qualities to be an effective pass protector when asked to step up and keep the QB clean. He needs to work on his consistency with his punch, but there are promising reps on tape suggesting that he should be able to execute this skill set at the NFL level.
As a UDFA running back, Teague will have to do more that just be a bruiser and sound pass protector. If he hopes to make the roster, he will have to make a notable impact on special teams which he made sure to mention as a focus of his.
“Of course, most important is special teams,” So, I’ve just been talking with coach Danny [Smith] and he’s been getting me up to speed with everything. So, I’m just feeling good, you know? Just go out here and lay it all on the line.”
As a back that didn’t a notable impact in the passing game while with the Buckeyes, Master Teague III needs to prove that he can be a core special teams player as well as an effective power back that can enforce his will on an opposing defense and churn out yards on the ground if he hopes to make the 53-man roster. Normally, such a task for a UDFA would be a daunting feat, but given the lack of proven depth in Pittsburgh’s RB room, Teague will get his opportunity alongside UDFAs Jaylen Warren and Mataeo Durant to unseat incumbents Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland Jr. this preseason for a chance to backup Najee Harris in Pittsburgh.