Updated Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster prediction as we get closer to the cutdown date. Not many changes from the last one but there are still several positions that are fluid.
Quarterback (3): Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones, Josh Dobbs
Analysis: Dobbs continues to prove why he’ll be the 3rd stringer this year. And that’s perfectly fine.
Running Back (3): Le’Veon Bell, James Conner, Knile Davis
Analysis: The third back still isn’t locked in yet but Davis has been decent on kick returns and looking good covering kicks, a big plus in his corner. Encouraging to hear Trey Williams is getting work returning kicks but he still has a ways to go.
Fullback (1): Roosevelt Nix
Analysis: No changes here.
Wide Receiver (6): Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Eli Rogers, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Sammie Coates
Analysis: And I won’t make any here either. Justin Hunter still hasn’t proven enough in a stadium to get the nod. Looking good in practice isn’t enough for a guy of his skillset. Coates hasn’t this year either, of course, but has a more familiar resume. DHB still kept for the reasons I stated before.
Tight End (3): Jesse James, David Johnson, Xavier Grimble
Analysis: In a vacuum, Jake McGee has had a better camp than Grimble. But blockers are dime a dozen and I think about what the Steelers want to do with their third tight end. Todd Haley has shown the desire to go spread/empty out of heavy personnel and Grimble is still undeniably better. If they want a third blocker, just bring in Chris Hubbard.
Offensive Tackle (4): Alejandro Villanueva, Marcus Gilbert, Jerald Hawkins, Chris Hubbard
Analysis: Group locked in.
Offensive Guard/Center (4): Ramon Foster, David DeCastro, Maurkice Pouncey, B.J. Finney
Analysis: Team taking a long look at Matt Feiler but just not enough room for him. He would’ve been the next player I would’ve added.
Defensive Line (6): Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Javon Hargrave, Tyson Alualu, L.T. Walton, Johnny Maxey
Analysis: Maybe they look outside the organization to replace Maxey but I think that’s unlikely.
Outside Linebackers (4): James Harrison, Bud Dupree, T.J. Watt, Anthony Chickillo
Analysis: I felt like I needed to have one shakeup on my new roster prediction. It’s a stretch but Arthur Moats is clearly the last guy off the OLB bench. Is he a better special teamer than Steven Johnson? I don’t think so. And Chickillo is comfortable playing either spot so there isn’t anything extra Moats brings there.
Inside Linebacker (5): Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams, Tyler Matakevich, LJ Fort, Steven Johnson
Analysis: Always one surprise. Steven Johnson cheaper and better special teamer than Moats.
Cornerback (7): Artie Burns, Ross Cockrell, William Gay, Coty Sensabaugh, Cam Sutton, Mike Hilton, Brian Allen
Analysis: Was tempted to put Dashaun Phillips over Mike HIlton (if the Steelers are going to shake things up, you gotta do something surprising, otherwise your mission failed), but Mike Tomlin mentioning him at his press conference and the fact I haven’t seen Phillips makes me hesitate,
Hilton has had a better camp than Allen but would the team carry so many slot corners (Gay, Hilton, Phillips, Sutton?).
Safety (4): Mike Mitchell, Sean Davis, Robert Golden, Jordan Dangerfield
Analysis: The fact a guy like William Gay has gotten a couple snaps at safety indicates they plan on keeping just four and need an emergency backup.
Kicker (1): Chris Boswell
Punter (1): Jordan Berry
Analysis: Also. Duh.
Long Snapper (1): Colin Holba
Analysis: Duh (I think?).
Practice Squad (10): Terrell Watson, Demarcus Ayers, Jake McGee, Brian Mihalik, Ethan Cooper, Farrington Huguenin, Keith Kelsey, Dashaun Phillips, Jacob Hagen, Malik Golden
Analysis: Couple of changes. McGee over Phazahn Odom. Flat out earned it and if he doesn’t get the nod, it works counter to what Tomlin preaches (every guy has a chance). Huguenin for Keion Adams. Still sticking with Kelsey, Phillips seamlessly takes Greg Ducre’s spot and I like Golden as an athlete and a tackler. With only four safeties on the 53, they can carry a pair here.
Had to bump Francis Kallon off. Came down to him or Cooper. But Cooper needed for extra depth. Pouncey and Foster get more days off than Heyward and Tuitt.
Game Day Inactives (7): Dobbs, Hawkins, Coates, Maxey, Johnson, Allen, Sutton