The journey toward the 2017 season is now in full swing with the Pittsburgh Steelers having reported to Latrobe for their annual training camp at Saint Vincent College, where they have held their camps for over half a century now.
This is surely the time more than any other in which we find ourselves full of questions that we are looking to get answered, and this also tends to be the best time to get answers to those questions that have been building up over the course of time since the 2016 season ended.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the training camp and the preseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Will a player not currently on the 90-man roster (or other list or roster) make the 53-man roster?
I had to throw in the nuance there in order to account for Sammie Coates on the Physically Unable to Perform List. With Martavis Bryant conditionally reinstated, I’m virtually certain that he is on the 90-man roster currently.
So the question is this: will a player who is not currently on the team make the team by the time the regular season starts? Or to branch out further, will any player not currently on the roster spend any time on the regular-season roster?
This is not an uncommon occurrence. Cobi Hamilton spent most of the 2016 season on the 53-man roster, but it was only around this time that the Steelers brought him in. a few years back, tight end Michael Palmer was brought in during training camp and spent a couple seasons on the team.
The Steelers have also made a few trades for players that went on to make the 53-man roster. They brought in Felix Jones in 2013, Brandon Boykin in 2015, and Justin Gilbert in 2016. So that’s three of the past four seasons.
To cast a wider net, let’s include the guys who have already been brought in since training camp opened. So that means we are including safety Malik Golden, tight end Jake McGee, and cornerback JaCorey Shepherd into the discussion.
Of the group, Shepherd might have the best chance because the Steelers apparently want to look at him as a kick returner. But somebody like McGee can make the practice squad and be called up if there is an injury.
It’s impossible to know what will happen between now and the start of the regular season, except for the fact that injuries will occur, because they always do, and that the roster will be adjusted accordingly—again, because it always is. Sometimes these adjustments end up being more significant.