The Pittsburgh Steelers 2015 preseason is now wrapped up and that means the team must trim their roster down to 53 players by Saturday evening. While several cuts are easy to make, there are still several spots that are definitely tough to figure out.
Below is my final prediction for the team’s 53 man roster come Saturday evening. I will state, however, that I firmly believe that Saturday’s final 53, whatever it is, won’t be the same 53 that they take to New England. This team can stand to upgrade several position groups and I will be surprised if a few players aren’t added.
Below are links to all of my previous roster predictions that I posted throughout the offseason.
Let the cuts begin.
2015 Steelers 53 Man Roster Prediction: Post Fourth Preseason Game
2015 Steelers 53 Man Roster Prediction: Post Third Preseason Game
2015 Steelers 53 Man Roster Prediction: Post Second Preseason Game
2015 Steelers 53 Man Roster Prediction: Post First Preseason Game
2015 Steelers 53 Man Roster Prediction: Pre-Training Camp Edition
2015 Steelers 53 Man Roster Prediction: Post Draft
Quarterbacks (3) – Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick, Landry Jones
Analysis: (No Changes) Even though I think it’s a mistake to keep Jones, I just cant see them cutting him loose. He should be a regular on the inactive list once again in 2015.
Running Backs (3*) – DeAngelo Williams, Dri Archer, Josh Harris
Analysis: (No Changes) Just because I’m keeping Harris on my initial 53 doesn’t mean I think he’ll make it to the regular-season opener. In other words, I expect the team will scouting the waiver wire for an upgrade in the coming days. If Harris last until Le’Veon Bell returns in Week 3 from his suspension, he will be a prime candidate to be waived. He had a very disappointing preseason.
Fullbacks (1) – Will Johnson
Analysis: (No Changes) Being as Johnson has position flexibility and plays on special teams, I just cant see him being released.
Wide Receivers (5) – Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Sammie Coates, Tyler Murphy
Analysis: (No Changes) This is an interesting group and there’s no guarantee they keep five in total until Martavis Bryant returns from his four-game suspension. I can see the Steelers watching the wire for an upgrade over Murphy, who really isn’t even a good special teams player. If he makes the final 53, he’s a candidate to be inactive until Bryant returns.
Tight Ends (3) – Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth, Jesse James
Analysis: (No Changes) Assuming he makes the final 53, James is also a candidate to be inactive at the start of the season.
Offensive Linemen (9) – Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Ramon Foster, Marcus Gilbert, Kelvin Beachum, Cody Wallace, Chris Hubbard, Alejandro Villanueva, Doug Legursky
Analysis: (One Change) Hubbard’s spot was certainly in jeopardy but being as B.J. Finney was injured on the next to last play Thursday night, Hubbard will likely make the initial 53 along with Legursky. However, if the team is able to sign a replacement, Hubbard might not make it to the Patriots game. Andy Levitre, anyone? You should all know by now that Pouncey will be shipped to injured reserve on Tuesday.
Defensive Linemen (6) – Steve McLendon, Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Daniel McCullers, Cam Thomas, L.T. Walton
Analysis: (No Changes) Walton is not a lock and that is evidenced by the team bringing in Phil Taylor for a look this past week. In other words, Walton might be headed to the practice squad before the Patriots game if the team can find an upgrade on waivers.
Inside Linebackers (5) – Lawrence Timmons, Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams, Sean Spence, Terence Garvin
Analysis: (No Changes) Timmons missed most of the preseason with turf toe and I believe Garvin played well enough to stick around one more season. I have stuck with these five all offseason and I’m not going to change my mind now.
Outside Linebackers (4) – Jarvis Jones, Arthur Moats, James Harrison, Bud Dupree
Analysis: (No Changes) Yes, it’s very possible that they keep Anthony Chickillo as a fifth, but in all honesty, he really cooled off during the preseason. He has a lot to learn still and I firmly believe he’ll pass through waivers and make it to the practice squad if he is indeed cut. It really could go either way with him and I won’t be surprised at the outcome. Don’t hate me for cutting him loose in my prediction.
Cornerbacks (6) – Cortez Allen, William Gay, Antwon Blake, Brandon Boykin, Doran Grant, B.W. Webb
Analysis: (No Changes) Webb or Kevin Fogg? Fogg is the better special teams player of the two, but I have a feeling that Mike Tomlin has a soft spot for Webb. This really could go either way and there’s no guarantee either make it. Would they even consider cutting Grant? I doubt it.
Safeties (5) – Mike Mitchell, Shamarko Thomas, Will Allen, Robert Golden, Ross Ventrone
Analysis: (No Changes) I can’t bring myself to cut Ventrone. Maybe it’s because Tomlin speaks so highly of him or maybe it’s because I fear the Patriots will scoop him up and play him Thursday night on special teams. If Ventrone doesn’t make it, perhaps his spot will go to Chickillo.
Kicker (1) – Josh Scobee
Analysis: (No Changes) Scobee did what he’s supposed to do Thursday night and he also showed he can still produce touchbacks on demand.
Punter (1) – Jordan Berry
Analysis: (No Changes) Which way will this great battle go? If Berry doesn’t make it, you can bet the Steelers will keep him on speed dial. Wing didn’t lose the job in my opinion, Berry was just better.
Long Snapper (1) – Greg Warren
Analysis: (No Changes) At least warren managed to stay healthy this year during the preseason.
Reserve/Suspended (2) – Le’Veon Bell, Martavis Bryant
Analysis: (One Change) Hopefully this list doesn’t grow anymore. Bell will be back in Week 3.
Reserve/Injured (9) – Shaun Suisham, Clifton Geathers, Eli Rogers, Jordan Zumwalt, Rob Blanchflower, Bruce Gradkowski, David Nelson, Micah Hatchie, Garrett Hartley, Senquez Golson
Analysis: (Two Changes) This list is likely to grow as Finney, Mitchell Van Dyk and Kelvin Palmer might be on it as well after all were injured Thursday night.
Reserve/PUP (1) – Mike Adams
Analysis: (One Change) Adams hopefully will be ready by Week 7.
Practice Squad (10) – (One Change) Anthony Chickillo, Shakim Phillips, Ethan Hemer, Gerod Holliman, Jawon Chisolm, Roosevelt Nix, Kevin Fogg, Jarrod West, Miles Dieffenbach, C.J. Uzomah
Analysis: (Several Changes) – West had a good showing Thursday night and maybe he did enough to make the practice squad. Will Dieffenbach circle back? Will Uzomah be cut?
Post Final Roster Cut-down Transaction – Sign Levitre and place Pouncey on injured reserve with the designated to return tag.
Analysis: This team really needs an upgrade over Hubbard and I can see them making a run at Levitre once he’s released. They might need another offensive linemen in addition to him and as previously mentioned, I can see a wide receiver, running back and defensive linemen also being claimed prior to the opener.