Throwing out my first Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster prediction since the dead of the offseason. Decided against making one right before camp because it was going to look generally the same as the first. It’s still fluid, an important caveat to note, but we have a little more to go off of.
Definitely some tough decisions to make at wide receiver and corner. Let me know what you guys think, and would do differently, in the comments below.
Quarterback (3): Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones, Josh Dobbs
Analysis: List is set and in this order.
Running Back (3): Le’Veon Bell, James Conner, Knile Davis
Analysis: Unchanged from last week. Better question of who the #2 would be. While I don’t think Davis will do well in the kick return game this preseason, I’d largely attribute it to the issues of getting the timing down on that unit in the preseason. He’s a more explosive runner and better out of the backfield than Fitzgerald Toussaint. Push comes to shove, we fall back on Kevin Colbert’s history of keeping free agents.
Fullback (1): Roosevelt Nix
Analysis: I like what Dave said on a recent podcast. Wrap Rosie up in bubble wrap. Just have him ready for Week One.
Wide Receiver (6): Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Eli Rogers, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Sammie Coates
Analysis: Still a really tough group to decide. Back spots are fluid. Have seven receivers still on the table but making the cut to a more sensible six. Justin Hunter still has a shot, and Ben likes him, but he’s gotta translate some nice plays in practice to in stadiums. At least Coates proved that in a uniform last year.
DHB, as bad of a camp as its been for him, has a lot of value than the others. Leader in that locker room, can play all three spots with confidence, and still the best special teamer. Cut him for Hunter and you have a pretty new locker room, especially including Bryant after being gone for an entire year. DHB is the super-ego to AB’s id.
Demarcus Ayers’ chances have faded fast. Bummer.
Tight End (3): Jesse James, David Johnson, Xavier Grimble
Analysis: Not the strongest group in the world but it’ll have to do.
Offensive Tackle (4): Alejandro Villanueva, Marcus Gilbert, Jerald Hawkins, Chris Hubbard
Analysis: Unchanged from last week.
Offensive Guard/Center (4): Ramon Foster, David DeCastro, Maurkice Pouncey, B.J. Finney
Analysis: Had a long debate internally of whether to keep Matt Feiler but I couldn’t make the numbers work. The fact the team has such good offensive line depth makes releasing him an easier pill to swallow.
Defensive Line (6): Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Javon Hargrave, Tyson Alualu, L.T. Walton, Johnny Maxey
Analysis: Unchanged, given that Maxey avoided a serious knee injury. No one is even pushing this group. They’re locked in.
Outside Linebackers (5): James Harrison, Bud Dupree, T.J. Watt, Anthony Chickillo, Arthur Moats
Analysis: Swapping Keion Adams for Arthur Moats. Adams hasn’t been on the field in two weeks and may not get healthy in time. Moats is getting enough work on first team special teams units to justify his spot…and his salary.
Inside Linebacker (4): Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams, Tyler Matakevich, LJ Fort
Analysis: You can make the case for Steven Johnson but nothing has changed in the last week to swap them. Fort the better athlete is what it comes down to.
Cornerback (7): Artie Burns, Ross Cockrell, William Gay, Coty Sensabaugh, Cam Sutton, Mike Hilton, Brian Allen
Analysis: Brian Allen vs Mike Hilton. Mike Hilton vs Brian Allen. How about both? I know that sounds crazy but both guys have proven they’re worthy of being on the roster. Hilton has been great since the spring and Allen has continued to improve. Both profile as excellent special teamers, though clearly, at least one corner will be inactive each game. Keep letting those guys compete. Make the room all the better.
With safety being light, I”ll roll the dice and go super heavy at defensive back.
Safety (4): Mike Mitchell, Sean Davis, Robert Golden, Jordan Dangerfield
Analysis: Jacob Hagen is a nice thought but he’s not bumping any of these guys. And there’s no room for an extra safety.
Kicker (1): Chris Boswell
Punter (1): Jordan Berry
Analysis: Also. Duh.
Long Snapper (1): Colin Holba
Analysis: Duh (looking good).
Practice Squad (10): Terrell Watson, Demarcus Ayers, Phazahn Odom, Brian Mihalik, Ethan Cooper, Francis Kallon, Keith Kelsey, Keion Adams, Greg Ducre, Jacob Hagen
Analysis: Not many changes on here. Jake McGee has impressed but he is still just a blocker and those guys are pretty common. A guy like Odom is less so and while a major work in progress, that’s what the practice squad is for. Ditto Kallon. Kelsey with maybe a slight leg up on Matt Galambos while Ducre has put together some solid practices.
If Adams avoids IR, he’ll go to the practice squad. If he is done for the year, Farrington Huguenin is next man up.
Last thing. Do want to point out Toussaint is still practice squad eligible. Something to gnaw on.