History Says 2018 53-Man Roster Will Include Players Not Currently Signed

Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 offseason practices have concluded it’s the time of the year when several 53-man roster predictions will be released before the team reports top Latrobe for the start of training camp. While these particular exercises are fun to do and evaluate, the odds of any one of them ultimately being 100 percent accurate are very, very slim for several obvious reasons.

While injuries and training camp battles usually play a big role in which players ultimately make the Steelers 53-man roster every year, the fact that the team has a long history of players who weren’t under contract with the team during the offseason practices that wound up on their Week 1 roster also needs to be acknowledged.

Dating back to the 2012 season, the Steelers have had at least two players make their Week 1 53-man roster that weren’t even under contract with the team during any of their offseason practices.

Last year, for example, the Steelers added tight end Vance McDonald, cornerback Joe Haden and safety J.J. Wilcox to their team just prior to the regular season getting underway. Haden was of course signed as a free agent while McDonald and Wilcox were both acquired via trades.

Just prior to the start of the 2016 regular season the Steelers acquired quarterback Zach Mettenberger and cornerback Justin Gilbert and the season prior to that, the Steelers Week 1 53-man roster included a whopping seven players who weren’t under contract with the team during the offseason practice period.

I probably could have gone back even further to see just how long this streak has existed, but I believe I have made my point.

This year, there’s already one player poised to continue this streak and that’s wide receiver Eli Rogers, who many expect will re-sign with the Steelers and ultimately make their 53-man roster once his surgically repaired knee has fully healed.

It’s probably also not hard to imagine the Steelers ultimately adding another experienced outside or inside linebacker, or even one of each, closer to the time the regular season gets underway.

As much as I would like to think my latest 53-man roster prediction is very close to being accurate, I can almost guarantee you that the initial group of 53 players the Steelers take to play the Cleveland Browns in Week 1 won’t match it. It will now be interesting to see how many players on this year’s 53-man roster weren’t even with the team during the offseason practices. Any guesses as to what that number will ultimately be?

Players On Steelers Week 1 53-Man Roster Not With Team During Offseason Practices (2012-2017)
Player Date Acquired How Acquired
Vance McDonald 29-Aug Trade
Joe Haden 30-Aug Signed
J.J. Wilcox 3-Sep Trade
Player Date Acquired How Acquired
Zach Mettenberger 31-Aug Claimed off waivers
Justin Gilbert 3-Sep Trade
Player Date Acquired How Acquired
Brandon Boykin 1-Aug Trade
Doug Legursky 25-Aug Signed
Michael Vick 25-Aug Signed
Josh Scobee 31-Aug Trade
Ross Cockrell 5-Sep Signed
Jordan Todman 6-Sep Signed
Caushaud Lyons 6-Sep Claimed off waivers
Player Date Acquired How Acquired
Brett Keisel 19-Aug Signed
B.W. Webb 29-Aug Claimed off waivers
Player Date Acquired How Acquired
Michael Palmer 8-Aug Claimed off waivers
Felix Jones 23-Aug Trade
Cody Wallace 1-Sep Signed
Zoltan Mesko 2-Sep Signed
Antwon Blake 2-Sep Claimed off waivers
Player Date Acquired How Acquired
Max Starks 17-Jul Signed
DeMarcus Van Dyke 7-Sep Signed
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