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Can Undrafted Rookie Reggie Dunn Show Enough to Become the Pittsburgh Steelers Return Specialist?

July 12th, 2013 at 11:59 PM
By Mark Mihalko

Throughout Pittsburgh Steelers OTAs and minicamp, one player that seemed to consistently create a buzz was rookie undrafted free agent wide receiver Reggie Dunn from Utah. The diminutive speedster is as advertised a blur, the big question is can his game translate to the NFL and in Pittsburgh.

'University of Utah Football' photo (c) 2011, Paul Pehrson - license:
He is limited by his size at 5-9, 178-pounds and is raw as a wide receiver. At Utah, he never developed into a full-time starter or explosive offensive weapon even with his amazing 4.25-timed speed. If he cannot distinguish himself as a receiver, he will have to make the team on his special teams exploits.

In college, Dunn set a single season NCAA record with four 100-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns in the 2012 season. In fact, teams stopped kicking to him leaving him without enough returns to lead the nation with his 51.3 yard-per-return average. There in lies the problem, he is a kickoff return specialist in a league that is attempting to phase out that part of the game. With the rule changes, the kickoff team has an advantage and many can keep a great kickoff return specialist from ever touching the ball.

With the top three or four wide receivers already set, Dunn will have to show more than on kickoffs, he will have to demonstrate that his return skills are just as dangerous in the punt return game. Unfortunately, he is limited in experience in that area and was not the primary punt return specialist at Utah, even with his extensive record on kickoffs.

When looking at his college production, he managed only seven punt return yards in three seasons on the college level. To make the Steelers, he will have to average more than that on every attempt. Dunn may be the most explosive player in camp, but if he cannot show he is more than a one-trick-pony, those days in camp will be numbered.



Tags: Football, Minicamp, NFL, OTAs, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Steelers, Reggie Dunn, Utah

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