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. The focus today is going to be on pedigree, and just how the roster was built based on conventional draft theory of the higher the pick, the better the player.
First Round: 11*
The Steelers, when you factor in Bud Dupree, currently have nine first-round draft picks of their own on the roster, from Ben Roethlisberger in 2004 to Artie Burns in 2016. Two along the offensive line, Maurkice Pouncey in 2010 and David DeCastro in 2012, have been named first-team All-Pro. They have also added first-rounders from other teams in Justin Gilbert, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and DeAngelo Williams, the latter being the only one to live up to his original draft stock.
* Bud Dupree, as mentioned, is a 12th when he returns from Injured Reserve.
Second Round: 5*
The Steelers have surprisingly just five second-round picks on their current 53-man roster, four of which they have drafted. Marcus Gilbert and Stephon Tuitt have grown into quality starters, while their last two second-rounders are still a mystery. Mike Mitchell adds to the group.
* Le’Veon Bell will be a sixth in this group when he returns from suspension in three games.
Third Round: 4
Only four third-round picks are on the roster, three of them having been drafted by the Steelers. Rookie Javon Hargrave looks to be the best of the group already, entering the starting lineup. There are also a pair of wide receivers taken in the round, plus veteran reserve tackle Ryan Harris as a free agent.
Fourth Round: 4*
Clearly not a terribly successful round, with two of their four players currently on the roster having come from other teams, those being Cody Wallace and Ross Cockrell. The others being their backup quarterback and a special teams safety.
* Three more fourth-round picks are also in the picture, namely Ladarius Green on the PUP List, a free agent, Jerald Hawkins on Injured Reserve, and the suspended Martavis Bryant.
Fifth Round: 2
This has clearly not been a successful round for the Steelers, with only Jesse James and William Gay, the latter from all the way back in 2007, to show for it, even among players culled from other teams.
Sixth Round: 7*
Here we begin to pick up some more numbers, including free agent Arthur Moats, but there are also several young defensive draft picks from this round on the roster from the past four years. Oh, and Antonio Brown was drafted here once as well. There is one on the practice squad, too.
* Bruce Gradkowski, on Injured Reserve, was a sixth-round pick.
Seventh Round: 4
I actually expected this number to be higher, but there are only four seventh-rounders on the roster, including two new faces from other teams and a rookie. The other, David Johnson, was a 2009 draft pick who reunited with the team this year. There is one rookie seventh-rounder as well on the practice squad, however.
And here we have the rest of the roster, a surprisingly pretty high percentage of former undrafted players, including such notables as James Harrison, Ramon Foster, and Robert Golden. Many reserves along the offensive line, inside linebacker, and at safety also make up this group, in addition to the specialists, of course.