2016 South Side Questions: Who Will Be Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?

The preseason has ended, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are taking their practices at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While training camp and the preseason might have seen a lot of work put into the team and the roster, there is plenty left to be done.

And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well, since the offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is really one that lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the preseason and beyond looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they head into a regular season in which they are, at least supposed to be, among the favorites to win the Super Bowl.

Question: How many players on today’s 53-man roster will still be here tomorrow?

Back in the mid-to-late 2000s, the Steelers were in many ways the envy of the league. They consistently have among the deepest rosters, and as a result, they rarely ever did much tinkering following their initial 53-man rosters, when it comes to making waiver claims from other teams.

That has not been the case in recent years. They have added at least one player pretty much every year for the better part of the past decade now, including five straight years in which they, specifically, added a cornerback that was not on the roster prior to the final day of roster cuts.

Last year, the Steelers’ 53-man roster just a day after the final cuts featured three players who did not see a second of time with the team ever before. Cornerback Ross Cockrell made the initial 53-man roster after the Steelers signed him as a street free agent, having been released in the first wave of roster cuts.

A day later, the team released two of their own rookie draft picks in order to make room for defensive end Caushaud Lyons, whom they claimed off waivers, and running back Jordan Todman, whom they signed as a free agent as a veteran who was released in the final wave of cuts.

The Steelers have a vulnerable roster at the bottom this year, and there are at least three or four players who could find themselves employed today and looking for a job the next day. Players at risk of holding a vulnerable roster spot tomorrow, if they make the roster, including Xavier Grimble, Al-Hajj Shabazz, Tyler Matakevich, and Jordan Dangerfield.

Keep in mind also that the team’s initial 10-man practice squad included four players from other teams, and they then replaced those four players just a day later. More than most years, however, this year’s 75-man roster seems to be more susceptible to fluidity than normal. Expect changes in the coming days.

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