The Pittsburgh Steelers will report to Latrobe on Thursday and that means it’s time for me to take my final stab at what the 2017 53-man roster might look like when the team opens their regular season on the road.
Moving forward from here, I will post a new 53-man prediction following each and every Steelers preseason game just as I do every year.
As usual, I invite all readers to add their own 53-man roster predictions in the comments below. At the very least, let me know which players on my list that you think won’t ultimately make the final 53 and why.
Quarterbacks (3) – Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones, Joshua Dobbs
Analysis: These three have been set in stone ever since Dobbs was drafted. Jones should open up the season as Roethlisberger’s backup.
Running Backs (3) – Le’Veon Bell, Knile Davis, James Conner
Analysis: I’m certainly not high on Davis as a running back option and he certainly must impress as a kick returner during the preseason if he’s going to make the initial 53.
Fullbacks (1) – Roosevelt Nix
Analysis: Nix is a solid fullback and special teams contributor. Here’s to him starting the 2017 regular season fully healthy, which is something he failed to do in 2016.
Wide Receivers (6) – Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Eli Rogers, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Sammie Coates, Justin Hunter
Analysis: Even though he’ll reportedly start training camp on the Active/PUP list, I think Coates still has a chance to beat out veteran wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey for a spot and especially if he can contribute on special teams like he did last season. Like Coates, Hunter is a real wild card this year but his addition early on during the offseason probably bodes well for him.
Tight Ends (3) – Jesse James, David Johnson, Xavier Grimble
Analysis: James is a lock. Johnson is close to being one as well because he can also play fullback. Grimble, on the other hand, still seems like a better option than the two highly-touted undrafted free agent tight ends, Scott Orndoff and Phazahn Odom.
Offensive Linemen (8) – Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Ramon Foster, Marcus Gilbert, Alejandro Villanueva, B.J. Finney, Chris Hubbard, Jerald Hawkins
Analysis: These eight are hard to dispute and I find it unlikely that nine offensive linemen in total will be kept.
Defensive Linemen (6) – Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Javon Hargrave, Tyson Alualu, Daniel McCullers, L.T. Walton
Analysis: The Steelers normally like to keep only six defensive linemen in total and barring any injuries, it would seem that all but McCullers are guaranteed spots entering this year’s camp.
Inside Linebackers (5) – Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams, Steven Johnson, Tyler Matakevich, L.J. Fort
Analysis: Behind Shazier and Williams sits Johnson, Matakevich and Fort entering camp. Fort is far from being a lock, however.
Outside Linebackers (5) – Bud Dupree, James Harrison, T.J. Watt, Anthony Chickillo, Keion Adams
Analysis: Can Adams ultimately beat out veteran Arthur Moats during training camp and especially when it comes to special teams value? I think so. If the Steelers ultimately keep six outside linebackers in total, Moats would be my obvious sixth.
Cornerbacks (6) – Artie Burns, Ross Cockrell, Coty Sensabaugh, Cameron Sutton, William Gay, Brian Allen
Analysis: Senquez Golson has a lot to prove this summer as does draft pick Allen. Of the six cornerbacks listed above, Gay and Allen are the biggest question marks right now.
Safeties (4) – Mike Mitchell, Sean Davis, Robert Golden, Daimion Stafford
Analysis: Mitchell and Davis are of course locks. The other two spots, however, are not. The offseason addition of Stafford via free agency can’t be ignored and he could very well wind up beating out either Golden or Jordan Dangerfield after the dust settles. Will the Steelers choose to keep five safeties in total? I chose Stafford over Dangerfield.
Kicker (1) – Chris Boswell
Analysis: Barring an injury, Boswell is a lock.
Punter (1) – Jordan Berry
Analysis: Berry, like Boswell, is a lock as we enter training camp.
Long Snapper (1) – Colin Holba
Analysis: Holba, the team’s sixth-round draft pick this year, is a lock at this point barring injury.
Final Notes: I believe this is the first time I’ve ever predicted that all draft picks will make a final 53. With that said, I think there’s a good chance we see that happen this year if all stay healthy. At worst, six of the eight should make it with Allen and Adams being the two questionable ones with the hardest paths.
Practice Squad (10) – Demarcus Ayers, Brian Mihalik, Ethan Cooper, Scott Orndoff, Terrell Watson, Johnny Maxey, Mike Hilton, Jacob Hagen, Lavon Hooks, Matt Galambos
Analysis: This list of 10 players will obviously be fluid from here on out but with that said, I think there’s a good chance at least four of these players ultimately wind up on the Steelers 10-man practice squad this year.
|Steelers 2017 53-Man Roster & 10-Man Practice Squad Prediction|