Devil’s Advocate: Most Vulnerable Veteran

You may recall for the past several offseasons that I ran an article series called The Optimist’s/Pessimist’s Take. I used it to explore different issues and topics the Pittsburgh Steelers were facing and took a positive or negative approach, examining each side in a separate article. This is essentially the same idea behind that, only condensed into one article for every topic.

In this version of the idea, I’ll be playing the Devil’s Advocate for both sides of the issue, looking at the best-case and worst-case scenarios in trying to find the range of likely outcomes of what is likely to happen for the Steelers relating to whatever topic the article is covering.

When it comes to the process of trying to construct a championship roster, the reality is that there are a ton of moving parts, and several ways to acquire said parts. There are a lot of things that can go right or wrong in not always predictable ways, so I think it’s helpful to try to look at issues by seeking out the boundaries of the likely positive or negative results.

Topic: Which veteran player is most likely to miss the cut on the 53-man roster for the Steelers this season?

The Steelers have spent time over the course of the past couple of months attempting to bolster some areas of need. As a result of that process, they have seemingly stocked an overabundance of players at certain positions, and in doing so have made the roster spots of some notable veteran players more vulnerable than they have been in the past.

I am thinking of specifically three players, one each at the positions of wide receiver, outside linebacker, and cornerback. At wide receiver, third-year player Sammie Coates will have to re-earn his position. So, too, will eighth-year veteran outside linebacker Arthur Moats, and cornerback William Gay, entering his 11th season.

For Gay, the Steelers just drafted two cornerbacks and are hoping to finally see Senquez Golson take the field after two years of battling injuries. They also added a free agent. If Golson proves healthy and Brian Allen sufficiently developed with a role on special teams, Gay could certainly be at risk as they look to get younger.

Moats seemingly finished at the bottom of the depth chart last year, though he could end up there again. It depends on the progress of seventh-round rookie Keion Adams, who has the potential to excel on special teams, where Moats has played less in recent years. This could be his undoing, especially if Adams is able to flash as a pass-rusher in the preseason against third-string tackles.

As for Coates, he has the most competition. The return of Martavis Bryant and the drafting of JuJu Smith-Schuster really would seem to kick him a notch or two down the depth chart. If he doesn’t show that he is over his hand injury, and whatever other injuries he might have had, then he could be a definite candidate to cut, as disappointing as it might be to let a third-round pick go. But the second-most important ability after availability is reliability.

Which side do you lean closer toward?

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