The Pittsburgh Steelers made their final roster cuts on Friday and gave us 13 new faces on the 53 man roster this year. Here is a look at each of those players.
David DeCastro – The Steelers first round draft pick was all ready to start the season at right guard until he suffered his knee injury in the third preseason game. While DeCastro might be down, he is most likely not out for the season. He begins the year on the 53 man roster until the team decides if they need to place him on the new 8 week injured reserve list.
Mike Adams – The Steelers second round pick went through huge growing pains throughout the preseason but came out the backside better for it. He will not be the starter at left tackle, but has shown some promise that one day in the future he will be. For now he will wait behind Max Starks and work on his technique.
Alameda Ta\’amu – The future is not now for the Steelers fourth round nose tackle. In fact, the future appears to be a good ways away right now as Ta\’amu has quite a bit to learn about leverage and playing the nose tackle position in the 3-4 defense. Expect the Washington product to be on the inactive list quite a bit as a rookie.
Kelvin Beachum – Beachum is one of the Steelers four 7th round draft picks that made the roster as a reserve left side guard/tackle. The plan eventually is to teach the SMU product how to play center as well, but in the mean time he will likely be on the weekly inactive list baring another injury to the offensive line. Beachum showed growing pains during the preseason, as expected, but has plenty of time to work them out.
David Paulson – The Oregon tight end made some progress, albeit very little, during the preseason as a blocker. Paulson should be active on game days until Weslye Saunders returns from his suspension as a third tight end and special teams contributor. The 7th round pick might be headed for the practice squad once Saunders returns, if the team does not decide to release Leonard Pope instead.
Chris Rainey – The electric Florida product has not disappointed. Rainey is a threat to hit a homerun any time that the ball is in his hands and the fifth round draft pick should be the punt and kick returner to start the season. Rainey can also come off of the edge on field goal blocks and serve in some capacity as an occasional third down back in addition.
Adrian Robinson – The undrafted quarterback head hunter out of Temple made the most of his playing time in the preseason as he flashed his ability to get after the quarterback in each and every preseason game at left outside linebacker. Robinson is raw and needs a ton of technique work, but his motor constantly runs at 100 mph. Robinson benefited from the in jury to rookie Sean Spence in the final preseason game and he needs to improve his play on special teams first and foremost.
Robert Golden – The undrafted free agent free safety flashed several times during the preseason, but his stay on the 53 man roster might be short one. With Ryan Clark down for the opener in Denver, Golden with serve as a reserve safety and cornerback in case injury strikes. He also should see time on special teams as well.
Drew Butler – From undrafted out of Georgia to being the opening day punter is not surprising being as Butler had no competition for the job with Jeremy Kapinos sidelined with a back injury.
Baron Batch – The Steelers 7th round draft pick from 2011 missed his rookie season due to a torn ACL suffered late in training camp last year, but he is now fully recovered. Batch will be used extensively on special teams this year and could see some time in a third down role during the season. The Steelers hope that he can become their new version of Mewelde Moore.
Will Johnson – Johnson, a former undrafted free agent from 2011, started camp battling veteran David Johnson for the starting fullback job. Once his competition was lost for the season in the first preseason game due to a knee injury, Will never looked back. In addition to serving as a lead blocker, Johnson also offers the ability to carry the ball in short yardage situations and work as a pass catcher out the backfield.
Leonard Pope – Pope was signed during the offseason as a free agent and he will back up Heath Miller initially at tight end. He is not the best blocker or special teams player, so depending on the progress made by Paulson over the course of the next few weeks, he might be the odd man out once Saunders returns from injury.
Brandon Johnson – Johnson was signed as a free agent very late in the offseason, because the team didn\’t expect James Harrison or Jason Worilds to be ready for the start of training camp. Now that Spence has been lost for the season, and Stevenson Sylvester will not be ready for the opener, Johnson went from being a possible camp body to being a member of the 53 man roster. He can play both inside and out if the need arises, but cross your fingers if he does. The best contribution that Johnson will make is on special teams and let\’s hope that is all that is asked of him.