The journey toward the Super Bowl is now well under way with the Pittsburgh Steelers back practicing at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, still informally referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility. With the regular season standing in their way on the path to a Lombardi, there will be questions for them to answer along the way.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions during the preseason and through training camp, but much of the answer-seeking ends in the regular season, and teams simply have to make do with what they have available to them. Still, there will always be questions for us.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond as they develop, looking for the answers as we evaluate the makeup of the Steelers on 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: Which player is going to be the biggest surprise to make or miss the Steelers’ 53-man roster?
Now that we are through with the preseason, the only thing left to do between now and the start of the regular season is to finalize the initial 53-man roster. There are many positions that can still go a number of ways, and in fact I would argue that there is more variability in how things can develop than there has been in most recent years.
Given the variability—and not to mention in particular the late roster movements, which includes bringing two players who are likely to be starters—there seems to be a good chance that we could be in for a surprise or two when it comes time for the Steelers to make their roster cuts, by 4 PM tomorrow.
Naturally, answers are going to vary from person to person as to what would constitute a surprising decision. I, for example, would consider it extremely surprising if the Steelers chose to carry Senquez Golson on the 53-man roster while perhaps hoping to sneak Mike Hilton onto the practice squad.
At this point, I think it would be surprising if Daniel McCullers were to make the roster. At wide receiver, keeping Cobi Hamilton or Demarcus Ayers—the latter especially—would be a big surprise. But I don’t think that any combination of Sammie Coates, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Justin Hunter making the team would be a shock.
How about long snapper? Is Colin Holba locked in, or might they opt for Kameron Canaday? How surprising would it be if they do not carry the rookie?
The biggest surprise could potentially shape up at tight end. While I would find it very surprising, I don’t think I would get too choked up if the Steelers decided to move on from Jesse James after acquiring Vance McDonald. Even though he has been an inconsistent performer, it would still be surprising at this point if Jerald Hawkins were to not make the team as well.