UDFA QB John Rhys Plumlee Reveals Why He Chose Steelers

With John Rhys Plumlee seeing action at wide receiver at UCF, there was speculation that he could play wide receiver in the NFL, but he put that notion to bed during an appearance on The Sick Podcast earlier this month. Plumlee said he chose the Steelers as a UDFA because they wanted him to play QB.

“Pittsburgh has relayed their confidence in me as a quarterback, they want me to play quarterback and develop as a quarterback,” he confirmed to Mike Nicastro and Jordan York.

At rookie minicamp on Saturday, Plumlee disclosed that he had several suitors, but he felt like the Steelers gave him the best opportunity.

“I had a lot of teams calling but I felt like Pittsburgh was the right spot and I felt like they believed in me,” Plumlee said, via Aaron Becker of Yardbarker.

Plumlee hasn’t communicated with Russell Wilson or Justin Fields yet, but looks forward to that opportunity at OTAs in a few weeks.

“I haven’t got to talk to them yet, but looking forward to meeting those guys and learning from them and getting to work with them,” Plumlee said. … “I’m super excited. Those are some guys that I’ve looked up to coming up, playing football. So super excited about the opportunity.”

Plumlee is very small for a quarterback, checking in at 5-foot-11 3/4 and 203 pounds, but he tested extremely well, running a 4.51-second 40-yard dash, a 4.27-second shuttle, a 6.96-second three-cone drill, a 36.5-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-4 broad jump for an 8.81 RAS score out of 10.

Plumlee will slot in behind Wilson, Fields and Kyle Allen as the Steelers’ fourth quarterback in training camp, and could be in line to earn a practice squad role where his athleticism could allow him to be a versatile piece of the scout team.

A right-handed hitting outfielder, Plumlee has not played baseball this season, so he will be able to join the Steelers for rookie camp, which is scheduled for two weeks away. His best hitting season was in 2023, when he hit .286 with an .889 OPS and stole 18 bases for UCF.

Given his baseball background, Plumlee looks forward to competing in the Steelers annual Home Run Derby at training camp.

“I’m excited about. I’ve heard Russ and Justin really can swing a bat. We’ll see, but excited about that,” Plumlee said when asked if he’s the front runner for the Home Run Derby.

During a recent appearance with Joe Starkey and Paul Zeise on 93.7 The Fan, Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette expressed that West Virginia cornerback Beanie Bishop Jr. and UCF quarterback John Rhys Plumlee have the best chance to make the Steelers’ roster amongst undrafted free agents.

“He’s athletic. I think there’s always interest in a potential Taysom Hill type of guy like that,” Batko said of Plumlee. “If you want to just have him on the roster to see any kind of wrinkles or packages, maybe there’s a little value in John Rhys Plumlee type than a Kyle Allen who’s been everywhere and usually a QB3.”

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