One of the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ best moves this past weekend may have come after the conclusion of the 2022 NFL Draft.

The Steelers had a solid draft — landing a quarterback (Kenny Pickett) and two highly talented wide receivers (George Pickens and Calvin Austin III) was a coup for Pittsburgh’s front office.

After the draft, the Steelers made a savvy move by signing UMass cornerback Bryce Watts to an undrafted free agent deal.

Watts is a former three-star recruit from New Jersey who originally signed with Virginia Tech during the 2017 recruiting cycle. He transferred to North Carolina for the 2020 season but ended up sitting out the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Watts played his final season of college football at UMass last season.

Steelers
Oct 25, 2018; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets place kicker Wesley Wells (38) kicks a second half extra point with holder Brad Stewart (83) as Virginia Tech Hokies defender Bryce Watts (5) attempts block at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Lee Luther Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

The Athletic’s Dane Brugler pointed out Watts this week as one of his favorite undrafted free agents.

From The Athletic:

A guy who got lost in the shuffle after transferring from Virginia Tech to North Carolina in 2019 before opting out in 2020 due to COVID-19. He landed at UMass in 2021 for one final shot. Watts has great speed and burst with good feet, he just hasn’t played much football over the last three years. Only 12 games and eight starts since 2018.

This feels like a situation where Watts is an extremely talented player (you can’t teach speed), but he made the wrong moves in college.

Transferring can be a great thing for college football players. Sometimes it puts a player in a much better position to reach the NFL. But the grass isn’t always greener — and Watts is a reminder of that.

Watts probably should’ve been drafted, but he ran into some bad luck with the pandemic and landing in not-so-great situations.

The Steelers, however, are glad he wasn’t drafted. They may be one of the rare teams to find a quality UDFA who ends up being a starter.

Featured image via Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports