With the 2015 NFL Draft now behind us, it’s time for my first offseason 53 man roster prediction for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
You will see that there are 54 players listed because of the extra spot needed because of running back Le’Veon Bell being suspended.
In the comments below, tell me the selections you disagree with and which player makes it instead. How many of these 53/54 are locks?
Quarterbacks (3) – Ben Roethlisberger, Bruce Gradkowski, Landry Jones
Analysis: We shall see how the Steelers handle Jones this year, but if it were up to me, I would waive him and try to get him to the practice squad if he is unable to beat out Gradkowski. History, however, tells us that we should expect three to be kept so I will roll with that for now.
Running Backs (4) – Le’Veon Bell, DeAngelo Williams, Dri Archer, Josh Harris
Analysis: It’s important to remember that Bell will likely be suspended for the start of the season so three other backs need to be kept on the initial 53. Williams and Archer appear to be givens and as of right now, the same goes for Harris, who might be jettisoned to the practice squad when Bell is eligible to return.
Fullbacks (1) – Will Johnson
Analysis: Hard to bet against Johnson right now.
Wide Receivers (5) – Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Martavis Bryant, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Sammie Coates
Analysis: Four of these five seem to be set and now we will wait to see whether or not Heyward-Bey still has value to Danny Smith on special teams.
Tight Ends (3) – Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth, Jesse James
Analysis: This position group seems to be set as well, but I could see a scenario where Rob Blanchflower makes it as well. It’s a long shot based on the numbers, but not unthinkable.
Offensive Line (8) – Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Ramon Foster, Marcus Gilbert, Mike Adams, Kelvin Beachum, Cody Wallace, B.J. Finney
Analysis: As much as I would like Alejandro Villanueva to beat out Adams, that is just blind hope on my part as we sit here in May. Can Finney beat out Chris Hubbard for a gameday inactive spot? I like his chances. If not Finney, maybe Miles Dieffenbach can sneak on instead.
Defensive Lineman (6) – Steve McLendon, Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Daniel McCullers, Cam Thomas, Clifton Geathers
Analysis: There’s currently no reason to think that Thomas won’t be on the 53 man roster this year so that leaves one spot open. I think John Mitchell likes Geathers because of his experience and that would leave L.T. Walton as the odd man out and likely headed to the practice squad.
Inside Linebackers (5) – Lawrence Timmons, Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams, Sean Spence, Terence Garvin
Analysis: I just cant see Jordan Zumwalt cracking this group which I believe will only include five players. Garvin is a special teams demon and thus will be tough to keep off the roster.
Outside Linebackers (5) – Jarvis Jones, Arthur Moats, James Harrison, Bud Dupree, Howard Jones
Analysis: These first four are set and it’s a coin-toss right now as to who No. 5 will be. I will give a slight edge to Jones over Anthony Chickillo and Shawn Lemon for right now. Whichever player grabs that final spot better be solid on special teams.
Cornerbacks (6) – Cortez Allen, William Gay, Antwon Blake, Senquez Golson, Doran Grant, B.W. Webb
Analysis: They have to keep six cornerbacks this year, right? If that’s the case, one would think that Webb has the inside track for the No. 6 spot being as the other five should be locks.
Safeties (5) – Mike Mitchell, Shamarko Thomas, Will Allen, Robert Golden, Ross Ventrone
Analysis: Mike Tomlin loves Allen. Golden and Ventrone are both special teams demons. Can Gerod Holliman show us anything on special teams to beat either of those two out? I have my doubts, but admit it’s possible.
Kicker (1) – Shaun Suisham
Punter (1) – Brad Wing
Analysis: As of right now, Wing obviously has the edge over Jordan Berry, but as we have seen over the course of the last few seasons, there are no guarantees when it comes to the Steelers punting position.
Long Snapper (1) – Greg Warren
Analysis: I have no reason to bet against Warren this year.