With the 2018 NFL Draft now completed it’s time for my to throw out my initial 53-man roster prediction for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
As usual, I have included some analysis underneath each position group and I invite you to post your own differences in the comments below along with your own 53-man roster prediction.
My next stab at the Steelers 53-man roster will likely be posted right before the team reports to training camp and after that one will come one after each and every preseason game.
Quarterbacks (3) – Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones, Mason Rudolph
Analysis: The Steelers drafted Rudolph so he’s obviously a lock. From there, and barring injuries, One would think Jones will be allowed to be the No. 2 to close out his career in Pittsburgh. That would obviously result in Joshua Dobbs being the odd man out.
Running Backs (3) – Le’Veon Bell, James Conner, Jaylen Samuels
Analysis: Can Samuels block? Can he play on special teams? Can he play running back full-time? Of the Steelers day-three draft picks in 2018, he might be the most-intriguing and in no way should he be considered a roster lock just the same. If I had to bet right now, Samuels might be the lone draft pick to not make the roster this year. The No. 3 running back might not even be under contract right now.
Fullbacks (1) – Roosevelt Nix
Analysis: It’s really hard to imagine Nix not winning this job once again as not only is he a solid fullback, he’s a solid special teams player to boot.
Wide Receivers (6) – Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Eli Rogers, Marcus Tucker, Darrius Heyward-Bey
Analysis: Brown and Smith-Schuster are obviously locks as is the draft pick Washington. There’s a good change Rogers might be re-signed and like it or not, Heyward-Bey might actually be able to stick around one more season because of his special teams play. I’m also rooting for Tucker to make the 53 this year. The Steelers depth behind Brown and Smith-Schuster is very questionable right now with Martavis Bryant now gone.
Tight Ends (3) – Jesse James, Vance McDonald, Jake McGeee
Analysis: I’ll go out on a limb and guess McGee can overtake Xavier Grimble this year. Quite honestly, this No. 3 tight end spot is really up for grabs and it might end up being a player not even under contract right now.
Offensive Linemen (9) – Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Ramon Foster, Marcus Gilbert, Alejandro Villanueva, B.J. Finney, Jerald Hawkins, Matt Feiler, Chukwuma Okorafor
Analysis: I really hate to carry nine offensive linemen and that might not ultimately happen. I hate to dump Feiler with Chris Hubbard now gone. Sadly, Hawkins or Feiler could be out if Okorafor is kept. Let me dream and carry nine for now.
Defensive Linemen (6) – Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Javon Hargrave, Tyson Alualu, L.T. Walton, Joshua Frazier
Analysis: Once you get past Heyward, Tuitt, Hargrave and Alualu, there’s a few uncertainties for what figures to be the final two defensive line spots as the Steelers normally like to keep only six. I have rookie draft pick Frazier beating out Daniel McCullers for the sixth spot and Walton returning foe another season as well.
Inside Linebackers (4) – Jon Bostic, Vince Williams, Tyler Matakevich, Matthew Thomas
Analysis: Will it be four or five inside linebacker spots this year. On the surface, Thomas, an undrafted free agent, has an obtainable path to the 53-man roster if he can contribute on special teams.
Outside Linebackers (5) – Bud Dupree, T.J. Watt, Anthony Chickillo, Keion Adams, Olasunkanmi Adeniyi
Analysis: Honestly, this position group is a mess on paper as we sit here today. Watt, Dupree and Chickillo should be locks and one would think Adams has an easy path as well. Will they keep four or five this year and if the latter, can Adeniyi, an undrafted free agent, make a push to be No. 5?
Cornerbacks (5) – Artie Burns, Joe Haden, Mike Hilton, Cameron Sutton, Brian Allen
Analysis: This group sure looks a lot different than the group we were discussing a year ago. One would think Burns, Haden, Hilton and Sutton are all locks for 2018 with Allen also a strong possibility. Will they keep just five cornerback this year instead of six so a fifth safety can be carried? will 11 defensive backs in total be carried at the expense of a wide receiver?
Safeties (5) – Morgan Burnett, Sean Davis, Nat Berhe, Terrell Edmunds, Marcus Allen
Analysis: The Steelers drafted two safeties this year in Edmunds and Allen and signed two more during free agency in Burnett and Berhe with the latter being a good special teams player. Barring injury, the only question with this group right now is if Allen can make the roster as a fifth safety and special teams demon.
Kicker (1) – Chris Boswell
Analysis: Barring an injury, Boswell is a lock and he’ll likely get a new contract later this summer.
Punter (1) – Jordan Berry
Analysis: Currently no reason to think Berry is in jeopardy of losing his job this season.
Long Snapper (1) – Kameron Canaday
Analysis: Hooray, no long snapper was drafted this year.
Summary: The big mistake I have made is that I have all seven draft picks making the 53-man roster and the odds of that happening based on the history of the team are very, very, very slim.
|Steelers 2018 53-Man Roster Prediction|