With the 2018 offseason prtactices now completed it’s time again for me to post another 2018 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’s first preseason game and after that one will come every week until the final cuts are made.
Previous versions are linked below:
Quarterbacks (3) – Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones, Mason Rudolph
Analysis: Its hard to imagine Jones not making the 53-man roster again this year. However, if Rudolph shows he’s the better backup option this summer, perhaps it would give Joshua Dobbs a chance at returning as the team’s No. 3.
Running Backs (3) – Le’Veon Bell, James Conner, Jaylen Samuels
Analysis: Samuels, a fifth-round draft pick this year, has stiff competition this summer in the form of a few experienced running backs. However, he’s a very versatile player and assuming he shows the ability to pass protect and contribute on special teams during training camp and the preseason, he has a very good chance at sticking.
Fullbacks (1) – Roosevelt Nix
Analysis: It’s really hard to imagine Nix not being on the 53-man roster 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: Tucker has received quite a bit of buzz this offseason and there’s definitely a path for him to finally make the 53 this year. Heyward-Bey will be a tough one to curt because of his special teams play and veteran leadership. Assuming those two make the 53 this year, that might leave only one wide receiver depth chart spot up for grabs if the Steelers ultimately decide to keep six in total. Rogers still isn’t under contract at the time of this post, but many believe its only a matter of time until he’s re-signed. If that happens, you have to like his chances and especially if he can win the punt return job. Veteran Justin Hunter doesn’t play special teams and that could finally doom him this offseason if no injuries happen the remainder of the summer.
Tight Ends (3) – Jesse James, Vance McDonald, Xavier Grimble
Analysis: The season-ending injury suffered by fellow tight end Jake McGee during the team’s offseason practices makes Grimble path to this year’s final 53-man roster a bit easier.
Offensive Linemen (9) – Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Ramon Foster, Marcus Gilbert, Alejandro Villanueva, B.J. Finney, Matt Feiler, Chukwuma Okorafor, Jake Rodgers
Analysis: Will it be 8 or 9 offensive linemen kept this year? Regardless, Feiler currently appears destined to be the new version of former Steelers offensive lineman Chris Hubbard. Now that tackle Jerald Hawkins has been lost for the entire 2018 season due to injury, there’s seemingly an opening on the 53-man roster for another tackle-capable player, I chose Rodgers because he was thought enough of to be kept around on the practice squad at times last season. However, newcomer Bryce Harris, a somewhat experienced player, and rookie undrafted free agent R.J. Prince will likely be in the running for a potential ninth offensive lineman spot.
Defensive Linemen (6) – Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Javon Hargrave, Tyson Alualu, L.T. Walton, Joshua Frazier
Analysis: This group of six defensive linemen matches my previous six post the draft. The first four appear destined to make the final 53 with the final two, Walton and Frazier, being the two non guarantees at this point of the offseason. Frazier’s path to the final 53 will likely include him needing to beat out the likes of Daniel McCullers and undrafted rookie free agent Greg Gilmore.
Inside Linebackers (4) – Jon Bostic, Vince Williams, Tyler Matakevich, Matthew Thomas
Analysis: Bostic, Williams and Matakevich should all be on the final 53 barring any injuries. However, beyond those three it will be interesting to see how things shake out and if the proverbial numbers game comes into play. Will the final inside linebacker depth chart include four or five players on it? On the surface the Steelers really seem to like Thomas, one the team’s priority undrafrted free agent signings this year. They’ll like him even more if he shows he can be a core special teams player during training camp and the preseason which is something a player he’ll be competing against this year, L.J. Fort, has done the last few seasons.
Outside Linebackers (5) – Bud Dupree, T.J. Watt, Anthony Chickillo, Keion Adams, Olasunkanmi Adeniyi
Analysis: Dupree, Watt and Chickillo are all locks in 2018 and then we’ll need to see if either four or five outside linebackers will be kept in total. Adams, who had his rookie season wiped out by a shoulder injury, is expected to make the 53 this year. As for Adeniyi, he’s certainly one of a few undrafted rookie free agents that will be watched closely throughout training camp and the preseason. Farrington Huguenin could be dark horse to watch.
Cornerbacks (5) – Artie Burns, Joe Haden, Mike Hilton, Cameron Sutton, Brian Allen
Analysis: Barring any injuries to the five listed above, they all should makeup the Steelers cornerback depth chart in 2018. Should a sixth cornerback ultimately be kept, it would probably result in just four safeties ultimately making the final 53.
Safeties (5) – Morgan Burnett, Sean Davis, Nat Berhe, Terrell Edmunds, Marcus Allen
Analysis: Burnett, Davis and Edmunds are all givens and due to his special teams ability, Berhe is expected to make the 53 in 2018 as well. From there the only uncertainty is if the Steelers will keep five safeties in total and if so, which player will be the fifth. Allen, one of the team’s two fifth-round draft picks this year, seemingly needs to beat out Jordan Dangerfield for the fifth spot if that’s ultimately how many are kept
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 to Matt Wile during training camp and the preseason.
Long Snapper (1) – Kameron Canaday
Analysis: As the only long snapper currently under contract, Canaday is the easy choice.
Summary; Once again, I have all seven of this years draft picks making the final 53-man roster in 2018 in addition to two rookie undrafted free agents. The changes from my last 53 due to injuries, include Grimble now being kept over McGee and Rodgers now being kept over Hawkins. I have also included my first shot at what the Steelers initial 11-man practice squad might look like this year.
|Steelers 2018 53-Man Roster Prediction|