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Bryan: 2017 Steelers 53-Man Roster Prediction: Final Edition

The Pittsburgh Steelers have now wrapped up their 2017 preseason and that means the team must now trim their active roster down to 53 players by Saturday evening. This means its now time for me to take my annual final stab at what the Steelers 53-man roster will look like come 4 p.m. ET Saturday.

As usual, I invite all readers to add their own 53-man roster predictions in the comments below. At the very least, let me know which players on my list that you think won’t ultimately make the final 53 and why.

Below are links to my previous 53-man roster predictions this offseason:

Bryan: 2017 Steelers 53-Man Roster Prediction: Post Draft Edition
Bryan: 2017 Steelers 53-Man Roster Prediction: Pre Training Camp Edition
Bryan: 2017 Steelers 53-Man Roster Prediction: Post First Preseason Game Edition
Bryan: 2017 Steelers 53-Man Roster Prediction: Post Second Preseason Game Edition
Bryan: 2017 Steelers 53-Man Roster Prediction: Post Third Preseason Game Edition

Offense (24)

Quarterbacks (3)Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones, Joshua Dobbs

Analysis: It’s easy to predict that theses three quarterbacks will all be on the 53-man roster this year. It was good to see Dobbs close out the preseason the way he did and hopefully we don’t see him on the field again until next year during the preseason. Roethlisberger’s limited preseason playing time should be enough for him to be ready for the regular season.

Running Backs (3)Le’Veon Bell, James Conner, Terrell Watson

Analysis: I just can’t bring myself to the point where I’m comfortable keeping Knile Davis. By my count, Davis had 20 preseason carries for 68 yards and 6 were “successful runs” while 7 went for no gain or lost yardage. That’s the same inconsistency he’s had for a while. Is he really worth keeping just to return kickoffs? He averaged a mere 18.2 yards on six preseason returns. Watson earned a roster spot with his preseason play and can help on special teams.

Fullbacks (1)Roosevelt Nix

Analysis: I can’t wait to see Nix play this season. He should be fully healthy and ready to crack some skulls both at fullback and on special teams.

Wide Receivers (6)Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Eli Rogers, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Sammie Coates, Darrius Heyward-Bey

Analysis: You can make argument to keep Justin Hunter in lieu of either Coates or Heyward-Bey. Hunter, however, isn’t a help on special teams and I think that really hurts his cause. Coates can return kickoffs if Davis winds up being cut. Smith-Schuster might start the season on the inactive list due to the time he missed during training camp and the preseason with injuries.

Tight Ends (3)Jesse James, Vance McDonaldDavid Johnson

Analysis: The Steelers traded for McDonald and that was a smart move by general manager Kevin Colbert. His addition, however, the addition of McDonald might just force Xavier Grimble off the roster as he’s not a big asset on special teams and would likely be hard-pressed to get many offensive snaps.

Offensive Linemen (8)Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Ramon Foster, Marcus Gilbert, Alejandro Villanueva, B.J. Finney, Chris Hubbard, Jerald Hawkins

Analysis: I really want to keep Matt Feiler as a ninth offensive lineman but just can’t find room for him. Maybe the Steelers can trade him for a late-round draft pick.

Defense (26)

Defensive Linemen (6)Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Javon Hargrave, Tyson Alualu, L.T. Walton, Lavon Hooks

Analysis: Assuming the Steelers do their usual thing and keep six defensive linemen in total, who will be the sixth? Has Hooks overtaken Johnny Maxey? That seems to be the collective thinking right now among a few of us on the site so I will roll with that.

Inside Linebackers (4)Ryan Shazier, Vince WilliamsTyler Matakevich, L.J. Fort

Analysis: Steven Johnson didn’t play in the preseason finale due to a hamstring injury and thus it will be hard for him to make the final 53-man roster and especially being as Fort had a strong preseason showing. The Steelers normally like to keep five inside linebackers but I see them only keeping four in total this year.

Outside Linebackers (5)Bud Dupree, James Harrison, T.J. Watt, Anthony Chickillo, Arthur Moats

Analysis: I really, really, really want to cut Moats but can’t do it. His $2.25 million salary will sure look weird if he is a weekly inactive list player. If it were up to me, I would cut him and only carry eight total linebackers initially and that would free up a roster spot for another tight end such as Grimble or cornerback such as Allen or Cockrell. The Steelers would probably turn their collective noses up to that suggestion.

Cornerbacks (6) –  Artie Burns, Joe Haden, Coty Sensabaugh, Cameron Sutton, William Gay, Mike Hilton

Analysis: Now that Haden has been signed, I think Ross Cockrell might wind up being cut and especially if Sensabaugh passed him on the depth chart. Cockrell doesn’t have any special teams value to boot and that hurts his cause. The hamstring injury that Sutton re-injured Thursday night also throws another wrench into this position group. Could he ultimately land on the Reserve/Injured list with the designated to return tag? It’s possible, I suppose.

Safeties (5)Mike Mitchell, Sean Davis, Robert Golden, Jordan Dangerfield, Jacob Hagen (or outside free agent)

Analysis: I decided to keep five safeties because I’m worried about the health of Mitchell and Dangerfield heading into Week 1. Dangerfield is also a core special teams player and that hurts as well. The Steelers could very well wind up signing a veteran safety after other teams cut down to 53 players. That would be a wise move based on the health of the group. I suck at predicting trades so I will keep Hagen with the idea he’ll need to dress in Week 1 in place of Dangerfield.

Specialists (3)

Kicker (1)Chris Boswell

Analysis: Boswell looks ready for the season and hopefully he’ll be kicking a ton more extra points this year.

Punter (1)Jordan Berry

Analysis: Berry never had any competition and didn’t need any.

Long Snapper (1)Colin Holba

Analysis: It’s hard to imagine that Kameron Canaday beat out Holba, the draft pick. Maybe the Steelers can trade Canaday?

Final Notes: A few more changes this week as out goes McGee and Hunter and it comes Watson and Heyward-Bey. That ninth linebacker spot needs watching heading into the final preseason game as does the sixth defensive line spot.

Reserve Injured (1)Keion Adams

Analysis: Adams is already on injured reserve and one must wonder if Sutton might have to join him soon.

Practice Squad (10)Xavier GrimbleDemarcus Ayers, Brian Mihalik, Keavon Milton, Johnny MaxeyBrian AllenMatt GalambosFarrington Huguenin, Trey Williams

Analysis: Added Grimble, Maxey, Williams and Webb this time. Always a strong chance that a few practice squad players come from final cuts made by other teams but I will work with what the Steelers currently have.

Week 1 Inactives (7) – Hawkins, Dobbs, Hooks, Moats, Sutton, Smith-Schuster, Dangerfield

Summary: The Thursday night injuries suffered by Dangerfield and Sutton combined with the lack of information regarding the overall healthy of Mitchell makes this year’s final roster prediction tough to put together. The Steelers rarely keep 11 total defensive backs but just might have to this year. Should they only keep 10 defensive backs in total, there’s a good chance a fourth running back or fourth tight end might be kept.

Steelers 2017 53-Man Roster & 10-Man Practice Squad Prediction
OFFENSE
Roethlisberger, Ben QB
Jones, Landry QB
Dobbs, Joshua QB
Bell, Le’Veon RB
Conner, James RB
Watson, Terrell RB
Nix, Roosevelt FB
Brown, Antonio WR
Bryant, Martavis WR
Rogers, Eli WR
Smith-Schuster, JuJu WR
Coates, Sammie WR
Heyward-Bey, Darrius WR
James, Jesse TE
McDonald, Vance TE
Johnson, David TE
Pouncey, Maurkice C
Foster, Ramon G
DeCastro, David G
Finney, B.J. C/G
Hubbard, Chris T/G
Gilbert, Marcus T
Villanueva, Alejandro T
Hawkins, Jerald T
DEFENSE
Heyward, Cameron DE
Tuitt, Stephon DE
Alualu, Tyson DE
Hargrave, Javon DT
Walton, L.T. DT/DE
Hooks, Lavon DT/DE
Harrison, James OLB
Dupree, Bud OLB
Watt, T.J. OLB
Chickillo, Anthony OLB
Moats, Arthur OLB
Shazier, Ryan ILB
Williams, Vince ILB
Matakevich, Tyler ILB
Fort, L.J. ILB
Burns, Artie CB
Haden, Joe CB
Gay, William CB
Sensabaugh, Coty CB
Sutton, Cameron CB
Hilton, Mike CB/DB
Mitchell, Mike S
Davis, Sean S
Golden, Robert S
Dangerfield, Jordan S
Hagen, Jacob S
SPECIALISTS
Boswell, Chris K
Berry, Jordan P
Holba, Colin LS
PRACTICE SQUAD
Ayers, Demarcus WR
Mihalik, Brian T
Milton, Keavon G/T
Gallambos, Matt ILB
Grimble, Xavier TE
Maxey, Johnny DE
Allen, Brian CB
Webb, Terrish S
Williams, Trey RB
Huguenin, Farrington OLB
INJURED RESERVE
Adams, Keion OLB
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