The signing came with very little fan fare in early January. The Pittsburgh Steelers signed a little known Canadien Football league receiver originally from McNeesse St. of all places……….yawn. It was a transaction barely noticed by Steeler Nation. Take a closer look though, and maybe the Steelers have something here. Coming out of college, Deontae Spencer profiled as an excellent athlete. He ran a 4.37/40 at his pro-day, to go along with a 40″ vertical jump and 125″ for the broad jump. His size is a bit of an issue being only 5’8″ and weighing 163 lbs. Spencer put up some impressive receiving numbers playing for the Ottawa RedBlacks of the CFL:
2015: 71-706-3 TDs
2016: 71-922-6 TDs
2017: 81-1007-9 TDs
Receiving yards may not be his way onto the 53 man roster however. Spencer is also a very gifted return man. As we all know, that is something the Steelers have needed for some time now. The team ranked 31st in kick return average last season, and 17th in punt returns. This is an area in dire need of improvement going into 2019. While with Ottawa the last two seasons, Spencer had a combined 1536, and 1661 in total return yards. Those kind of numbers are surely what prompted Kevin Colbert to make the signing in the first place.
Diontae Spencer has his work cut out for him to make the Steelers roster this season. The team is deep in smallish return type receivers with players like Ryan Switzer and Eli Rogers. Not to mention Pittsburgh drafted another such player in Diontae Johnson with their third round pick. There is a path to beat out all of these players to a roster spot however. Spencer will have to really impress in the return game during the pre-season to make this happen. Not since the early AB days have the Steelers had an exciting returner on their roster. Adding a dynamic returner to help the team would be a welcome addition. Diontae Spencer just might be that guy.