2018 Offseason Questions: Who Is Most Impacted By Eli Rogers’ Return?

The journey toward Super Bowl LII ended far too prematurely for the Pittsburgh Steelers, sending them into offseason mode before we were ready for it. But we are in it now, and are ready to move on, through the Combine, through free agency, through the draft, into OTAs, and beyond.

We have asked and answered a lot of questions over the years and will continue to do so, and at the moment, there seem to be a ton of questions that need answering. A surprise early exit in the postseason will do that to you though, especially when it happens in the way it did.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring developments all throughout the offseason process, all the way down to Latrobe. Pending free agents, possible veteran roster cuts, contract extensions, pre-draft visits, pro days, all of it will have its place when the time arises.

Question: Who on the 90-man roster is the most impacted by the Steelers’ re-signing of Eli Rogers?

Eli Rogers is a wide receiver that the Steelers liked so much that even going back to his rookie season, they kept him on injured reserve all season in spite of the fact that he suffered a foot injury before he even got to participate in a preseason game as a college free agent.

Even after he saw his role reduced last season thanks to the rapid emergence of JuJu Smith-Schuster,  Rogers was back contributing during the playoffs, until he suffered a torn ACL. Despite the fact that he is still finishing up his recovery from that injury, the Steelers decided to re-sign him at the start of training camp.

As it currently stands, the team now returns five of the six wide receivers from the 53-man roster a year ago, with Martavis Bryant being swapped out for rookie second-round pick James Washington. And Washington seems to be expected to move into the role occupied by Bryant by the end of last season, which is the number three receiver.

So Rogers may only asked to be the number four receiver, assuming that he makes the roster, which is probably a safe bet. With that in mind, how does this affect the rest of the roster, and one which players does it have the biggest impact?

Other wide receivers would be obvious. Things just got a lot more difficult for Marcus Tucker, for one thing. If the Steelers only carry five receivers, Justin Hunter and Darrius Heyward-Bey are in trouble.

If Rogers’ return makes the team more likely to carry six receivers than they would have otherwise, then it also affects other positions. Perhaps carrying a ninth lineman in particular now becomes much less likely. 11 defensive backs would probably be close to out of the question as well. Even the number of bodies at linebacker might have to be monitored more closely, provided that Rogers’ return locks in six receivers for the 53-man roster.

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