It’s been a few days now since the roster has been trimmed and tweaked, and so we can probably assume that at least this is the 53-man roster that the Pittsburgh Steelers will carry into the season opener.
With that in mind, I wanted to do a bit of analysis of some of the roster’s aspects in itself, in terms of personnel, pedigree, experience, age, and means of acquisition. We have already looked at the categories of age, pedigree, and means of acquisition, so now I want to look at the experience factor before turning to looking at the roster by position.
Of their 53 players on the roster, seven of the Steelers’ players this year have never been on a roster before. That includes four rookie draft picks, with another on injured reserve, and two on the practice squad. Three players from the practice squad last season made it to the roster this year.
They say that the jump that players are supposed to make from year one to year two is the most significant that they will make during their career. Well, a pick chunk of their roster is made up of these players, including starter Alejandro Villanueva. That also includes two players from injured reserve last year, Eli Rogers and Senquez Golson.
This may be the most significant individual group on the roster, including two of their key defensive players in Ryan Shazier and Stephon Tuitt. Also among them are a pair of running backs, nose tackle Daniel McCullers, and new cornerback Justin Gilbert.
I am grouping these three tiers together because I consider them to be of similar status in development, between novice and veteran, some of whom are already quite accomplished. Among these players are two starting offensive linemen, not to mention Cameron Heyward, the nucleus of their defense. This group contains six of the team’s 22 starters on offense and defense.
The Steelers have on their roster five seventh-year players, and among them are their best in Maurkice Pouncey and Antonio Brown. Mike Mitchell and Ramon Foster are the other starters in this tier.
The Steelers’ roster contains only six players who are entering at least their 10th season this year, and among them are six of their nine players who are at least 30. Lawrence Timmons is the youngest of this group, with William Gay next, at 30 and 31 respectively. DeAngelo Williams at 33 is in his 11th year, while Ben Roethlisberger at 34 is in his 13th. Old man James Harrison, in his 14th season, is 38.
The Steelers currently have three injured or suspended players of note, two of whom they hope to get back this season. Le’Veon Bell is in his fourth season, while Ladarius Green is in his fifth. Martavis Bryant—suspended for the entire year—would be in his third season now, but if he is reinstated, his next season will be his third.