Why Pitt TE Scott Ordnoff chose the Pittsburgh Steelers
PITTSBURGH — In the two years since Heath Miller stopped playing football, Scott Orndoff has increasingly realized why he was his favorite tight end.
The Waynesburg native grew up watching Miller take the field and rarely leave it mid-series. Miller would line up at the end of a formation or detached from it, block, catch and sometimes both in the same play — frequently in the same series.
The Steelers’ best receiving threat in the position last year switched from Jesse James to Xavier Grimble back to James then Ladarius Green and back to the former Penn State tight end after Grimble was concussed out of the season. Their best blocking tight end was either David Johnson or Chris Hubbard, who is not naturally a tight end at all. He’s a tackle who sometimes also works at guard and center.
It’s why Orndoff said took the Steelers’ offer on Day 3 of the draft, when the former Pitt player signed with his local team as an undrafted rookie free agent. The New York Jets, Carolina Panthers and Minnesota Vikings all offered him as a free agent, but he figured Pittsburgh’s unsettled tight end situation gave him the best chance to make a team and play.
“I know nothing’s guaranteed, but I know there’s a chance if I just come here and work my tail off and show them I’m reliable and I can do the job,” he said. “And I definitely think I can squeeze in a spot on the 53-man roster.”
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Orndoff also said he may be a longer-term developmental project, but emphasized Mike Tomlin’s desire to have his tight ends block. The head coach, Orndoff said, told him and the other tight ends at rookie minicamp that the Steelers don’t want to be part of the league-wide trend of tackles subbing in for tight ends to run block.
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This is a matter of team philosophy, Orndoff said — that Miller installed it and which someone now someone has to restore.
“The Steelers, they don’t want to have to do that, because they had Heath Miller for all those years who could do anything,” Orndoff said. “So there’s no reason they can’t do that with the players that they have.”
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