NFC Workouts: Keene, Osemele, Brown, Butler

NFL teams continue to try and piece together their ideal rosters as the regular season approaches. Tight end Dalton Keene is putting out feelers lately, taking visits to San Francisco and Pittsburgh this week, according to two tweets from ESPN’s Field Yates.

Keene faces long odds of getting a job with the 49ers, who currently hold four tight ends on a roster that includes George Kittle, Tyler Kroft, Charlie Woerner, and Ross Dwelley. All three backups behind Kittle had more play and production last year than Keene has had throughout his young career.

Pittsburgh has three tight ends on their roster with Pat Freiermuth, Zach Gentry, and sixth-round rookie Connor Heyward (brother of Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward). The Steelers’ tight end group is a bit less experienced or proven than San Francisco’s, so Keene has a better chance of getting an opportunity in Pittsburgh, but no deals have been announced in the meantime.

Here are a few other notable workouts from around the NFC, starting with a former All-Pro who hasn’t played since 2020:

  • Offensive guard Kelechi Osemele is attempting to make a big comeback into the NFL. Osemele worked out with the Bears this past Thursday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The 2016 first-team All-Pro has seen his career derailed by injuries over the past few years. After being traded from the Raiders to the Jets, Osemele was released when he underwent shoulder surgery that the Jets didn’t deem necessary. He signed on the next year with Kansas City but was placed on injured reserve after tearing tendons in both knees in a Week 5 game in 2020. The 33-year-old looks to be trying to make his way back to the field and the Bears, who recently claimed another former Raider in Alex Leatherwood, certainly could use the depth.
  • With defensive tackles Malcolm Roach and Albert Huggins on injured reserve, the Saints are looking to improve their depth at the position. On Wednesday they tried out former Panthers and Bills defensive lineman Vernon Butler, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. Butler’s best season came with he started nine games for the Panthers in 2019, racking up 6.0 sacks, but he has been a reliable rotational defensive lineman for the Bills since then.
  • The Lions hosted defensive tackle Malcom Brown back in late-August, according to Yates. The former first-round pick failed to make an impression, though. Despite the Lions dedicating 13 roster spots to the defensive line on their initial 53-man roster, Brown remains a free agent in search of his next opportunity.
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