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: This set is set and has been set since the moment Dobbs was drafted. Sorry Bart Houston.
Running Back (3): Le’Veon Bell, James Conner, Knile Davis
Analysis: It’s been a good camp for Fitzgerald Toussaint but Davis still gets the nod for what he’s shown in camp, the ability to create and burst that will suit him well in the return game. What he does in game though will of course decide his fate.
Fullback (1): Roosevelt Nix
Analysis: Nix is going to murder people on special teams. It’ll be glorious.
Wide Receiver (7): Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Eli Rogers, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Justin Hunter, Sammie Coates
Analysis: Whew, this is the toughest group to decide on. Even with seven on the roster, there’s a difficult cut to make. I want to keep eight but you’d have to throw me in the looney bin for it. Can’t see DHB being cut; too much trust in him and he’s by far the best special teamer on the team.
So Demarcus Ayers gets the axe. Boo. Partially because he has practice squad eligibility, partly because Eli Rogers could still do the job (though maybe not as well), and partially because Ben Roethlisberger really likes Hunter and probably will have some influence over that last spot. Again, preseason play is going to figure a lot of this out. Still a fluid situation.
Tight End (3): Jesse James, David Johnson, Xavier Grimble
Analysis: Unless they look outside the organization, these are definitely your three. Grimble has had a couple better camp practices and improved as a run blocker.
Offensive Tackle (4): Alejandro Villanueva, Marcus Gilbert, Jerald Hawkins, Chris Hubbard
Analysis: Better question about who is the gameday active, Jerald Hawkins or Chris Hubbard, than who is making the 53.
Offensive Guard/Center (4): Ramon Foster, David DeCastro, Maurkice Pouncey, B.J. Finney
Analysis: Group is set. A ninth linemen is unlikely. No one good enough to crack the roster.
Defensive Line (6): Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Javon Hargrave, Tyson Alualu, L.T. Walton, Johnny Maxey
Analysis: We hardly knew ye, Daniel McCullers. Can’t see any way he makes the 53 and Walton has played well at nose tackle in camp. Maxey has added weight, strength, and have seen slight improvements as a pass rusher.
Outside Linebackers (5): James Harrison, Bud Dupree, T.J. Watt, Anthony Chickillo, Keion Adams
Analysis: Last spot between Adams and Arthur Moats still very much up for grabs. Comes down to special teams, which we can’t properly evaluate until they get in stadiums. Even then, we are unlikely to learn much after Friday; doubtful Adams plays with his shoulder injury. But he’s looked fluid and comfortable as a 7th rounder and has shown a burst as a pass rusher.
Inside Linebacker (4): Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams, Tyler Matakevich, LJ Fort
Analysis: Tight battle between Fort and Steven Johnson. Fort a better athlete, just as good a special teamer, who can come off the edge in a pinch. Like a little extra athleticism on the back end of the roster.
Cornerback (6): Artie Burns, Ross Cockrell, William Gay, Coty Sensabaugh, Cam Sutton, Brian Allen
Analysis: Tough decision to be made at the last corner spot. Comes down to Allen vs Mike Hilton, at least with Senquez Golson on the shelf. Hilton has been impressive, and I’ve definitely talked him up, but another 5th round corner getting cut? I don’t think it’s going to happen. Allen has been better and I think he’ll do well on special teams.
Safety (4): Mike Mitchell, Sean Davis, Robert Golden, Jordan Dangerfield
Analysis: Group locked up ever since Daimion Stafford opted against showing up. All making the 53 and all should be active on game day.
Kicker (1): Chris Boswell
Punter (1): Jordan Berry
Analysis: Also. Duh.
Long Snapper (1): Colin Holba
Analysis: Duh (hopefully).
Practice Squad (10): Terrell Watson, Demarcus Ayers, Phazahn Odom, Matt Feiler, Brian Mihalik, Francis Kallon, Farrington Huguenin, Matt Galambos, Mike Hilton, Jacob Hagen
Analysis: Watson has the size the team likes. Ayers is a logical conclusion. Odom, Mihalik, and Kallon continue to be higher upside developmental players. Feiler is steady who can play tackle or guard. Huguenin is a toolsy pass rusher while Galambos just makes plays. Hilton is a tough cut who stays with the team while Hagen is the best of the depth safeties.