As Dave Bryan, Jon Ledyard, and Matthew Marczi will do, I’ll update my Pittsburgh Steelers 53 man roster predictions. As we’ve written about, there aren’t many camp battles left for the 53. This roster won’t change a ton the rest of the way. But there are always slight variations in each installment. This is no exception.
Quarterback (3) – Ben Roethlisberger, Bruce Gradkowski, Landry Jones
Analysis: (One Change) I’ve finally relented and added Landry Jones to my list, given Kevin Colbert’s recent affirmation that Jones is going to make the roster. Amazing that they’re going to carry a player who undeniably is not worthy of the best 53.
Running Back (3) – DeAngelo Williams, Dri Archer, Josh Harris
Analysis: (No Change) Nothing of note here, though you have to wonder if Harris will stay on the roster after Le’Veon Bell returns. My guess is no – the team just won’t carry four running backs.
Fullback (1) – Will Johnson
Analysis: (No Change) Johnson’s spot has and will be secure.
Wide Receiver (5) – Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Martavis Bryant, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Sammie Coates
Analysis: (No Change) The days of the team carrying six receivers are long gone. These are the five and only the five that will make the roster.
Tight End (3) – Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth, Jesse James
Analysis: (No Change) Simply no competition for James so he waltzes on as the third tight end.
Offensive Tackle (4) – Kelvin Beachum, Marcus Gilbert, Mike Adams, Alejandro Villanueva
Analysis: (No Change) Adams is making the roster or starting the year on reserve/PUP. Not getting cut. And if he starts the year on PUP, don’t be surprised if the team looked for a veteran tackle at cutdowns. Despite that, Villanueva’s spot seems safe.
Offensive Guard/Center (5) – Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Cody Wallace, Wesley Johnson
Analysis: (One Change) Boom, I called my shot. Wesley Johnson, welcome back. Remember he made the 53 man roster despite not looking particualrly good in the preseason and was only lost when the New York Jets snagged him off of waivers. With Chris Hubbard struggling and none of the UDFAs worthy of this spot, he’d be a versatile and cheap addition as the ninth offensive lineman.
Defensive End (4) – Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Cam Thomas, L.T. Walton
Analysis: (No Change) Walton is the superior athlete than Ethan Hemer and gets the hat. A chance to be groomed under a great leader like Heyward.
Nose Tackle (2) – Steve McLendon, Daniel McCullers
Analysis: (No Change) No surprises here.
Outside Linebacker (5) – Jarvis Jones, Arthur Moats, James Harrison, Bud Dupree, Anthony Chickillo
Analysis: (No Change) Man, Dave made a great argument for keeping Chickillo off this roster. It’s history, and only that, but a 15 year trend is tough to argue with. Still, Chickillo is a lot better than most of the other bubble players in rosters past. He’s one of the best 53 men and should be carried.
However, if you made me cut one linebacker, inside or out, it’d be Chickillo.
Inside Linebacker (5) – Lawrence Timmons, Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams, Sean Spence, Terence Garvin
Analysis: (No Change) All five here are roster locks.
Cornerback (6) – William Gay, Cortez Allen, Antwon Blake, Brandon Boykin, Doran Grant, B.W. Webb
Analysis: (No Change) Kevin Fogg is making a strong case but Webb is more experienced, a better special teamer, and Fogg can easily be stashed on the practice squad.
Safety (4) – Mike Mitchell, Shamarko Thomas, Will Allen, Robert Golden
Analysis: (One Change) I’m not opposed to making a difficult decision for a 5th safety, I did it last time, but with the addition of Landry Jones, Ross Ventrone gets the ax. He’ll likely be available on the waiver wire should the team need him during the year, softening the decision.
Special Teams (3):
Kicker (1) – Garrett Hartley
Analysis: (No Change) You knew this one.
Punter (1) – Brad Wing
Analysis: (No Change) Dang, this is a tough one. Jordan Berry is really pushing Wing. But with Wing’s experience, and the team probably not wanting to again deal with the natural woes of a rookie punter, they go with the more proven player.
Long Snapper (1) – Greg Warren
Analysis: (No Change) Love ya, Greg.
Reserve/Suspended (1) – Le’Veon Bell
PUP (1) – Senquez Golson
Practice Squad (10) – Jawon Chisholm, Cameron Clear, Tyler Murphy, C.J. Goodwin, B.J. Finney, Mitchell Van Dyk, Ethan Hemer, Kevin Fogg, Ian Wild, Howard Jones
Analysis: (Two Changes) Mostly unchanged after totally revamping the taxi squad last time. Shakim Phillips repeated mental mistakes in practice and drops in the Jacksonville game bumps him off the roster, especially with Murphy being considered a receiver more than a quarterback. Steelers aren’t keeping three receivers.
Keeping Finney and Van Dyk partly due to history. In four of the last five years, the team has kept two offensive lineman on their practice squad, even back when they could only keep eight.
Fogg’s fantastic play in camp vaults him onto the practice squad. Alden Darby is the hard-luck loser here. I like him but Wild is more versatile, a bigger body, and just as athletic.
Not much of a fan of HoJo but didn’t have any other options. He was my last player on. Wasn’t going to keep a seventh offensive player and already doubled up at two positions, receiver and the offensive line. Linebacker was the only position left and Jones easily wins over Shayon Green.