With the 2017 NFL Draft now completed it’s time for my to throw out my initial 53-man roster prediction for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
As usual, I have included some analysis underneath each position group and I invite you to post your own differences in the comments below along with your own 53-man roster prediction.
My next stab at the Steelers 53-man roster will likely be posted right before the team reports to training camp and after that one will come after each and every preseason game.
Quarterbacks (3) – Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones, Joshua Dobbs
Analysis: Zero debate here. Not with the names nor the depth chart.
Running Backs (3) – Le’Veon Bell, James Conner, Knile Davis
Analysis: I am confident Conner can become the #2 behind Bell. Third spot could be more open, especially if someone else shows up on kick returns. But those odds aren’t great at the moment so Davis gets the nod.
Fullbacks (1) – Roosevelt Nix
Analysis: The boring predictions continue. Nix is a lock.
Wide Receivers (7) – Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Sammie Coates, Eli Rogers, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Demarcus Ayers
Analysis: Ok guys, here’s my one bit of craziness of the roster prediction. Wide receiver is the deepest position on the roster so it makes sense to keep more of them than any other position. Keeping seven is actually less crazy than my other thought; taking Rogers off the roster completely, replaced by Ayers.
Here’s why Ayers could latch on. He’s a hard worker and seemingly accountable, something Eli Rogers struggled with during his rookie season. And Tomlin has talked him up on I think two occasions as a guy he is excited to work in Year Two. Ayers is a better punt returner than Rogers, too, and that’s how he could get his hat (and Rogers inactive on gameday).
Seven receivers is awfully heavy but not completely uncommon in the NFL. The Browns and Bills kept seven in recent years and Bengals.com thinks they will keep seven for 2017. There’s a precedent.
Tight Ends (3) – Ladarius Green, Jesse James, David Johnson
Analysis: Xavier Grimble has flashed but Johnson is the tried and true blocker. That’s what the team values the most from their #3 tight end, especially assuming Green enters camp healthy. Considering his workouts in the spring, the odd look good.
Offensive Linemen (8) – Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Ramon Foster, Marcus Gilbert, Alejandro Villanueva, B.J. Finney, Chris Hubbard, Jerald Hawkins
Analysis: Maybe Brian Mihalik sneaks onto the roster but there isn’t a ton of wiggle room here. The rest of the group are locks are close to it. Only Hubbard could fall off but his versatility is tough to match.
Defensive Linemen (6) – Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Javon Hargrave, Tyson Alualu, Daniel McCullers, L.T. Walton
Analysis: I’d love to see someone push McCullers but can’t find a name to do so. Maybe something happens at final cutdowns or someone surprises in camp. Johnny Maxey could give Walton a nudge but I think his spot is ultimately safe.
Inside Linebackers (4) – Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams, Steven Johnson, Tyler Matakevich
Analysis: I keep forgetting about L.J. Fort and maybe he or a UDFA – Keith Kelsey could be that favorite – plays his way onto the roster. Matakevich’s spot is safe; Johnson’s is debatable. Team could still wind up keeping five.
Outside Linebackers (5) – Bud Dupree, James Harrison, T.J. Watt, Anthony Chickillo, Keion Adams
Analysis: Arthur Moats and Adams battle it out for the final spot. Adams is the better athlete and is going to offer more on special teams. Cheaper and more long-term value. But it’s still a coin flip.
Cornerbacks (6) – Artie Burns, Ross Cockrell, Coty Sensabaugh, Cameron Sutton, William Gay, Brian Allen
Analysis: Senquez Golson has to prove he is worthy of a roster spot. Scholarship days are long over. Allen will perform well on special teams.
Safeties (4) – Mike Mitchell, Sean Davis, Robert Golden, Jordan Dangerfield
Analysis: Another position the team could look to add at final cutdowns. These four names are all safe.
Kicker (1) – Chris Boswell
Analysis: Boswell can sleep well at night. Spot is safe.
Punter (1) – Jordan Berry
Analysis: See: Boswell, Chris
Long Snapper (1) – Greg Warren
Analysis: I’ve bet against Warren before. And been wrong every time.
Practice Squad (10)
RB – Rushel Shell
TE – Phazahn Odom, Xavier Grimble
OL – Ethan Cooper, Brian Mihalik
DE – Johnny Maxey
OLB – Farrington Huguenin
ILB – Akil Blount
CB – Brandon Dixon
S – Jacob Hagen
Analysis: Not crazy about Shell but the Steelers like keeping a big back on the practice squad. He and Cooper are the two UDFAs to make it in a down class. Maxey provides even better DL depth while I think Huguenin and Blount could have solid training camps.
|Steelers 2017 53-Man Roster Prediction|