Getting near the end. My 53 man roster predictions for the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is the “settled in” version, after the team places Le’Veon Bell on the suspended list and Senquez Golson on injured reserve.
If you want to look back at my last roster prediction, from like, yesterday, click here.
Quarterback (3) – Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones, Zach Mettenberger
Analysis: Roethlisberger And The Beards. Dibs on the band name.
Running Back (3) – DeAngelo Williams, Fitzgerald Toussaint, Daryl Richardson
Analysis: Group unchanged. Going to be fun to see who wins between Toussaint and Richardson when Le’Veon Bell returns. My guess is Toussaint. More well-rounded. Steelers have plenty of strong runners. And with the special teams hell the team is already going through, who knows how bad it’ll look a couple games in. Toussaint is needed.
Fullback (1) – Roosevelt Nix
Analysis: He’s healthy, right? Right?! *breathes into paper bag*
Tight End (3) – Jesse James, David Johnson, Nic Jacobs
Analysis: Xavier Grimble didn’t show enough to me to warrant being placed on the 53, especially knowing he can still be stashed on the practice squad.
Having some trouble finding a tight end, it sounds more likely guys like John Phillips and Levine Toilolo are going to stay with their teams, though they are people I’d target if they are cut. I’m going with Jacobs, cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars on the march to 75, but this is a Steelers’ team that signed Ross Cockrell after he went through the same thing last year.
Jacobs is nearly 6’5, 260 pounds with over 34 inch arms. Valuable blocker in that #3 spot who can jump in as the #2 if he had to for whatever reason.
Wide Receiver (5) – Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Eli Rogers, Sammie Coates, Darrius Heyward-Bey
Analysis: Haven’t changed this five since I started these predictions before camp.
Offensive Tackle (3) – Alejandro Villanueva, Marcus Gilbert, Ryan Harris
Analysis: These are your three with Chris Hubbard being the #4 OT.
Offensive Guard/Center (6) – Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Cody Wallace, Chris Hubbard, B.J. Finney
Analysis: No wiggle room, no debate here. Unless the team gets aggressive at cutdowns, these are your nine.
Defensive End (4) – Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Ricardo Mathews, L.T. Walton
Analysis: I do like Caushaud Lyons and he’s consistently shown up but unless there is real concern over Heyward and Mathews, he’ll stay on the practice squad. Walton narrowly beats him out. If I were to hedge my bets and call a shot for one true surprise of the roster, it would be Lyons over Walton.
Nose Tackle (2) – Daniel McCullers, Javon Hargrave
Analysis: The idea of McCullers getting cut isn’t as crazy as it may sound. But it’s too much of a hassle to find another nose tackle and any switch would make this group awfully inexperienced. He stays though his role in this defense is unclear.
Outside Linebacker (5) – James Harrison, Jarvis Jones, Arthur Moats, Bud Dupree, Anthony Chickillo
Analysis: Travis Feeney’s concussion slips away any glimmer of hope he can make this 53. This group has been unchanged since the start. Dupree’s injury situation does make the linebacker room a little murky, however, at least early on.
Inside Linebacker (5) – Lawrence Timmons, Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams, L.J. Fort, Tyler Matakevich
Analysis: Still the toughest decision I’ve had to make. Mapping out the inactives, it’s probable only four inside linebackers will be active on gameday. With Fort running over Steven Johnson, meaning Johnson would probably be inactive, taking away any of the short-term value I thought he had. And Matakevich has run over Johnson on special teams for certain units.
I’m generally indifferent to the decision the Steelers make between the final two. Both guys offer the same thing.
Cornerback (5) – William Gay, Ross Cockrell, Artie Burns, Doran Grant, Darryl Roberts
Analysis: I am so mixed on Doran Grant. There are some parts of his game that makes me think he can play in this league, there are other parts that make me think he could be a surprise cut. But because he has experience in the system and could be a piece on special teams down the road, he stays. Anxious to see what CB this team targets.
Safety (5) – Mike Mitchell, Robert Golden, Sean Davis, Shamarko Thomas, Jordan Dangerfield
Analysis: Same as before. Dangerfield may be inactive when this group is healthy but if he is ever “up,” he’ll be an impact special teamer. Same guy as before, big hitter, flying around the football. His skillset is just aligning with the opportunity.
Kicker (1) – Chris Boswell
Analysis: In Boswell We Trust.
Punter (1) – Jordan Berry
Analysis: In Berry I Hope We Can Trust.
Lone Snapper (1) – Greg Warren
Analysis: Warren will long snap when he’s 78.
Running Back – Brandon Brown-Dukes
Cameron Stingily fumbled his way out of the mix. Brown-Dukes has shown enough ability in the open field and creating positive yards to warrant a longer look.
Wide Receiver – Demarcus Ayers, Cobi Hamilton
Analysis: Thought about taking Ayers off again but he’ll stay for now despite a “meh” preseason. Saw enough at camp to keep him around for a bit. Hamilton’s triangle number are worth a second look.
Tight End – Xavier Grimble
Analysis: Grimble bumps down to the practice squad after a below average preseason, camp and all. Can add the vet tight end and keep the sorta-promising young player, though I don’t know if Grimble will ever really evolve into much.
Offensive Line – Matt Feiler
Analysis: Same reasoning as before. The best of a very uninspiring bunch. Big body, throwback demeanor, some versatility.
Defensive Line – Caushaud Lyons, Lavon Hooks
Analysis: Man, I really wanted to keep Johnny Maxey around but he got lost in the numbers crunch. Lyons has been better and Hooks has done positive work at nose tackle and the team wants/needs a third guy on the team.
Linebacker – Travis Feeney
Analysis: Provided his concussion doesn’t put him on injured reserve, he’ll land on his feet on the taxi team.
Cornerback – Montell Garner, Al-Hajj Shabazz
Analysis: Group stays the same for the same reasons as they were the other day. Garner is versatile and he is a pretty physical dude. Shabazz is Artie Burns-light, the Toasted Oats to Burns’ Cheerios.