My weekly roster prediction update. Unfortunately because of injuries and suspension, this roster is going to look a lot more different than anyone was anticipating. This roster will reflect Martavis Bryant being placed on the reserve/suspended list, and with Maukrice Pouncey already on the IR/to return list. So think of this as the 53 that will travel to New England, not the immediate 53 after cutdowns.
Quarterback (3): Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick, Landry Jones
Analysis (One Change): Vick replaces Bruce Gradkowski. Jones still makes this roster even with the team conceding they wouldn’t entertain the idea of him being the #2 for a second.
Running Back (3): DeAngelo Williams, Josh Harris, Dri Archer
Analysis (No Change): No one in danger of losing their spot here. Would love to see Harris finally get out there for the last two preseason games.
Fullback (1): Will Johnson
Analysis (No Change): His spot is secure, as always.
Tight End (3): Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth, Jesse James
Analysis (No Change): If Cameron Clear can’t get healthy, and even if he is for the last game, the Steelers may be forced to keep Ray Hamilton past the first 15 cuts just to have enough depth for the final preseason game. Of course, this doesn’t affect the 53.
Wide Receiver (5): Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Sammie Coates, Tyler Murphy
Analysis (One Change): Bryant’s suspension definitely opens up a roster spot for a fifth wide receiver. There is no guarantee they keep five, but they’ve only carried four once since 2009. So five seems likely. Murphy is the clear favorite, well ahead of C.J. Goodwin and Shakim Phillips.
Murphy would be my player to waive initially and then put back on the roster once Pouncey is moved off the 53 man roster.
Offensive Tackle (4): Kelvin Beachum, Marcus Gilbert, Mike Adams, Alejandro Villanueva
Analysis (No Change): Only question is if Adams is going to be healthy enough to start the year. If he begins it on reserve/PUP, will the team go out and sign a veteran tackle or do they trust Villanueva enough to have him serve as the #3? My guess is the latter.
Guard/Center (5): Ramon Foster, David DeCastro, Cody Wallace, Doug Legursky, Wesley Johnson
Analysis (One Change): Swapping Legursky for Pouncey. Still sticking with the team claiming Johnson, they almost always add one player onto their roster, though Johnson will be inactive on gameday. Since he isn’t the immediate backup, they don’t need to bring in a veteran. But if the Steelers want to upgrade over Legursky, then they’ll have to find someone with Sunday experience. A Mike McGlynn type.
Defensive End (4): Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Cam Thomas, L.T. Walton
Analysis (No Change): Team will ride out the Tuitt injury. Doubtful they add anybody here.
Nose Tackle (2): Steve McLendon, Daniel McCullers
Analysis (No Change): Both have been roster locks since the spring.
Outside Linebacker (5): James Harrison, Jarvis Jones, Arthur Moats, Bud Dupree, Anthony Chickillo
Analysis (No Change): Chickillo is my 52nd player on the roster. He is the only player in danger of being cut that has a chance of getting claimed off waivers and I’m not interested in rolling the dice and losing a player that clearly has potential when the future at outside linebacker isn’t particularly bright.
Inside Linebacker (5): Lawrence Timmons, Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams, Sean Spence, Terence Garvin
Analysis (No Change): All locks to make the 53 and be active on game day.
Cornerback (6): William Gay, Cortez Allen, Brandon Boykin, Antwon Blake, Doran Grant, B.W. Webb
Analysis (No Change): Still tough for me to put Kevin Fogg over Webb. My reasons haven’t changed. Webb still the better special teamer with more experience while Fogg is eligible for the practie squad and will clear waivers without issue.
Safety (4): Shamarko Thomas, Mike Mitchell, Will Allen, Robert Golden
Analysis (One Change): Wanted to put Ventrone on here. Even tried to set my roster up with him and Chickillo on, kicking Murphy off and carrying only four receivers. But couldn’t come up with seven inactives, not including Ventrone, and I’m not going to keep a guy like him just to make him inactive. If I have him on my team, I want him on the field. So he loses out in the inactive game.
Special Teams (3)
Kicker (1): Garrett Hartley
Analysis (No Change): Hartley should be the guy. To start the year, at least.
Punter (1): Brad Wing
Analysis (No Change): Wow, what an awesome battle between him and Jordan Berry. Going with the player who has more experience. The team probably doesn’t want to deal with growing pains of another first year punter. But Berry is making it so tough.
Long Snapper (1): Greg Warren
Analysis (No Change): A lock.
Reserve/Suspended (2): Le’veon Bell, Martavis Bryant
IR/Designated To Return (1): Maurkice Pouncey
Practice Squad (10): – Jawon Chisholm, Cameron Clear, Shakim Phillips, B.J. Finney, Mitchell Van Dyk, Ethan Hemer, Joe Kruger, Howard Jones, Kevin Fogg, Ian Wild
Analysis (Two Changes): Goodwin still in the mix but I need to see him healthy and productive these last two weeks. Not going to make it another year sitting on the sidelines. Kruger is somewhat of a sleeper pick for me. Gives the team some depth in case Tuit is still on the mend. And Heyward will probably get some days off during the season. Ditto with James Harrison which is why HoJo is still on here.