Updated Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster prediction as are days away from final cutdowns. Couple shakeups this time around.
Quarterback (3): Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones, Josh Dobbs
Analysis: Group hasn’t changed from the moment Dobbs was drafted.
Running Back (3): Le’Veon Bell, James Conner, Knile Davis
Analysis: Unchanged. Four running backs seems excessive. Didn’t even keep four after Le’Veon Bell’s suspension last year. Davis does the detail things well. Catch, block, execute his assignment.
Fullback (1): Roosevelt Nix
Analysis: Locked and loaded.
Wide Receiver (6): Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Eli Rogers, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Sammie Coates
Analysis: Each week, these decisions get easier. Went from debating about the seven to debating about the six and now the six feel locked in. Coates vs Justin Hunter’s snap count last weekend tells you all you need to know.
Tight End (3): Vance McDonald, Jesse James, David Johnson
Analysis: Keeping four is possible but bringing in McDonald sent a message they weren’t happy with this group. Hard to envision there won’t be any changes. Johnson was the most consistent in an inconsistent group. Xavier Grimble did well against the Colts but too little, too late.
Offensive Tackle (4): Alejandro Villanueva, Marcus Gilbert, Jerald Hawkins, Chris Hubbard
Analysis: Hawkins hasn’t had the most even camp but progressed. Would be floored – and upset – if he was cut.
Offensive Guard/Center (5): Ramon Foster, David DeCastro, Maurkice Pouncey, B.J. Finney, Matt Feiler
Analysis: Took the plunge and added Feiler to the list. His play has just been too good, even if that Atlanta Falcons game was shaky. Like his athleticism, attitude, and versatility. The Steelers have made it a point to collect offensive line depth and Mike Munchak’s word probably holds clout. Last guy on the roster.
A little more minor but team usually keeps 10 OL total (53 + practice squad). Feiler can’t be on the practice squad and I don’t know if they have a 10th guy good enough worth keeping there. So they go 9 and 1 instead.
Defensive Line (6): Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Javon Hargrave, Tyson Alualu, L.T. Walton, Lavon Hooks
Analysis: One change here. Hooks got the nod over Johnny Maxey against the Colts so for now, we’ll assume Hooks is getting the nod (or the team is trying to get a good look at him). Hooks can also serve as a nose tackle in a pinch, though hopefully, he’ll never be needed.
Outside Linebackers (5): James Harrison, Bud Dupree, T.J. Watt, Anthony Chickillo, Arthur Moats
Analysis: Moats back on the roster. Honestly, only bumped him off last week just to have a different roster layout and with changes made elsewhere, Moats can come back on.
Inside Linebacker (4): Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams, Tyler Matakevich, LJ Fort
Analysis: Steven Johnson back off. Matakevich is top backup at both spots. That’s been confirmed by Mike Tomlin. Fort is the top special teamer. I’m not sure if there’s a unit Johnson will start on. Moats has gotten more time as a starter.
Cornerback (6): Artie Burns, Ross Cockrell, William Gay, Coty Sensabaugh, Cam Sutton, Mike Hilton
Analysis: Brian Allen got off to a promising start. Hasn’t looked bad since but there’s no room for him. Spots needed elsehwhere. He’ll make his way to the practice squad.
Safety (4): Mike Mitchell, Sean Davis, Robert Golden, Jordan Dangerfield
Analysis: Still nothing going on here.
Kicker (1): Chris Boswell
Punter (1): Jordan Berry
Analysis: Also. Duh.
Long Snapper (1): Colin Holba
Analysis: Duh (getting nervous!).
Practice Squad (10): Terrell Watson, Demarcus Ayers, Jake McGee, Brian Mihalik, Farrington Huguenin, Matt Galambos, Brian Allen, Dashaun Phillips, Jacob Hagen, Malik Golden
Analysis: Two names cut from the 53 who don’t show up on here: Grimble and Johnny Maxey. I can’t find an example of a Steeler who was on the 53 the year before and then wound up to start the next year on the practice squad. When you’re cut, you’re cut, and the team turns the page. Frankly, McGee much more consistent than Grimble and that’s the area Tomlin has stressed.
Galambos has gotten more exposure than Keith Kelsey. Allen comes down. Phillips is kept in an effort to add as much competition as possible to that group. No one should get comfortable. Golden is an upside flier at a position of little depth.
Game Day Inactives (7): Dobbs, Hawkins, Feiler, Coates, Hooks, Moats, Sutton
Last Five Off The Roster
1. Steven Johnson
2. Xavier Grimble
3. Brian Allen
4. Justin Hunter
5. Fitzgerald Toussaint