The Pittsburgh Steelers, like the rest of the league, are spending the next several weeks away from formal team activities as training camps around the NFL begin to open toward the end of July. They have a 90-man roster established that they have set to bring into Latrobe with them in the 25th of next month.
But it may not take long before we see that roster get a tweak here and there, as is often the case early in training camp when the pads come on and we begin to get a feel for who has what it takes to make it in the NFL and who doesn’t.
Oftentimes, these are even, one-for-one swaps, kept within the same position to preserve the numbers. But sometimes it’s the numbers themselves that are imbalanced, and there are a few positions on the Steelers’ 2015 roster that seem imbalanced that I would not be surprised to be targeted for addition or subtraction in late July or early August.
A few positions in particular are, or at least appear to be, unnecessarily deep. With 10 safeties and eight outside linebackers—positions at which are traditionally kept only four or five on the 53-man roster—it would not be surprising to see the numbers here get cut down in favor of a position lacking in numbers.
For a team that carried six cornerback for most of last season—and has regularly in the past—the fact that they only have seven currently on their 90-man roster, all of whom either spent time with the team last year or are rookie draft picks, it would shock me if we don’t eventually see another cornerback or two added to the roster, perhaps early on in training camp.
Another area of excess on the current 90-man roster is defensive end, where they currently have nine players who have played or will play defensive end for the Steelers in training camp. Given that there are only two in the starting lineup, and that they typically carry four out of six total defensive linemen, having a rotation going beyond four deep seems excessive.
Where might we find an extra roster spot vacated by a defensive lineman go to? Running back is always a prime target in that regard. It’s one of the easiest spots to adjust to as a young player, which is why you regularly see rookies make some type of impact.
Last year, the Steelers added Josh Harris at the start of training camp, and by the end of the preseason, he had emerged to the head of the pack amongst a group of running backs who had been with the team all season, which earned him a spot on the practice squad, and eventually the 53-man roster.
Beyond the top two on the current depth chart, however, there is not much pedigree currently available, as it includes two rookie undrafted players as well as a slash player in Dri Archer. Adding another true running back body to that mix, especially considering they have five preseason games this year, seems likely as the 90-man roster numbers balance themselves out.