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Cornerback Lew Toler latest rookie to join Steelers defense

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Rutgers

News that the Pittsburgh Steelers waived veteran inside linebacker Kion Wilson in favor of a relatively unknown undrafted rookie cornerback may have surprised some on Thursday.  Even Lew Toler, the new guy returning to the Steelers after an invite to rookie minicamp may have been surprised.  What shouldn’t be surprising is that the Steelers recognized that Wilson’s production at ILB was down and the team needs more depth in the defensive backfield after passing on drafting more than one player at that position in 2014 (Shaquille Richardson).

Toler began his collegiate career at Eastern Michigan before becoming a Rutgers graduate transfer.  In 2013, Toler was the new guy for the Scarlet Knights behind redshirt junior Gareef Glashen and reshirt freshman Ian Thomas on the depth chart with eight career interceptions.  Toler came off the bench at Fresno State to register five tackles, force a fumble and recover it and earn a spot at the top of the roster with Glashen.

Toler wasn’t invited to the 2014 NFL Combine, but put up the following numbers at Rutgers’ Pro Day:

40 Yd. Dash (low): 4.52

40 Time: 4.60

225 lb. Bench Reps: 16

Vertical Jump: 31 1/2

Broad Jump: 09’11

20 Shuttle: 4.34

3-Cone: 7.43

Toler comes into training camp with the Steelers at a time that is perfect for ‘Steelers Nation’ to get an opportunity to know what he presents as options for the team at a position that has some question marks.  Although Toler was overlooked by many draft scouts, his potential for development was enough for the Steelers to bring him back for another look.  Toler has played offense, defense and special teams, making him a potential versatile backup for the Steelers.

Player Data (Prior to transfer to Rutgers)

2012:  Set career high with two interceptions in win vs. EIU (9/8) … third interception in two games at Minnesota (9/15) … first TFL of the season vs. UMass (10/6) … career high three PBUs at KSU (10/20) … special teams fumble recovery at CMU (11/3) …

2011:  Started all 13 games during the 2011 season and registered 59 tackles and 4.5 TFLs … Seven tackles and 1.0 TFL at Michigan (9/3) … five tackles and PBU against CMU (9/17) … six tackles with a TFL and PBU at No. 24 Illinois (9/24) … TFL and forced fumble at Toledo (11/8) … season matching seven tackles at Miami (11/16) …  recorded four tackles against Purdue in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (12/27).

2010: Named Phil Steele First Team All-MAC … earned Freshman All-American from … led the MAC with 14 passes defended (5 INTs, 9 PBUs) … named the team’s Outstanding Defensive Player … made collegiate debut and first collegiate start by leading team with eight tackles at Michigan State (9/4) … recovered two fumbles vs. Nicholls State (9/11) … first career interception vs. Toledo (9/18) … returned INT 24 yds for TD at Ball State (10/9), earning MAC West Defensive POTW … assisted on TFL at Notre Dame (10/16) … five tackles, 1.0 TFL and a pass break up at Akron (10/23) … fourth INT of season vs. NIU (10/30) … third fumble recovery of the season at CMU (11/5), giving him seven take aways in 2010 … eighth PBU of season vs. EMU (11/13) … fifth INT of season and career high nine tackles vs. Kent State (11/20).

2009: Redshirted … member of the defensive scout team.

High Schol: Earned 2008 first team all-state defense … named First Team All-Blue Hen Flight A defensive back and second-team wide receiver as a senior … earned second-team all-conference as a junior … nominated to Delaware’s 54th annual Blue-Gold All-Star game … member of two-time conference championship team (2006, 2008) … intercepted 10 passes during career and recorded 71 tackles … amassed 700 yards receiving and scored 10 touchdowns … earned DIAA Academic All-State honors.

PERSONAL: Business administration major … son of Lewis and Marcella Toler … born May 28, 1991 in Newark, Del.







  1. Wes

    July 25, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    This article is a bit incorrect. The Steelers actually did draft a DB (Shaquille Richardson) in 2014.

  2. Christina Rivers

    July 25, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Wes, hit refresh and thanks for keeping us honest.

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