The last time that we took a look back at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster in review, it was weeks before the 2018 NFL Draft took place. It would be safe to say that quite a bit has changed since then, and the changes apply to almost every position on the roster, some major changes, some minor.
We are closing in on the opening of the Steelers’ several weeks of training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, however, so it would be a good time to pause and take stock of where the team stands at each position as we head into the most critical process of the offseason.
Position: Defensive End
Total Positional Figure: 9
Cameron Heyward: We saw what Heyward did last season. The Steelers may need him to repeat that performance if the defense is to be successful this year. But everybody has to be more consistent against the run, including him.
Stephon Tuitt: Tuitt expects health to make a world of difference this year. We’ve already had the discussion of why he was even playing if he was so injured last season, so we don’t need to go down that road again.
Tyson Alualu: Alualu was the Steelers’ best run defender last season, but he also posted a career-high with four sacks. He is limited as a pass-rusher but is a reliable veteran who was an underrated addition last year.
L.T. Walton: I don’t think the Walton trial at nose tackle fared all that well, personally. I fear it could set him back, but if he doesn’t command that role, he’ll be sitting on the bench this year during games.
Lavon Hooks: Hooks has been around the team for a few years now and is giving it yet another go, having never made the roster before.
Casey Sayles: A bit short for the position at 6’3″, Sayles was an undrafted free agent last season, playing for the Rams, where he seemed to perform well during the preseason. He did not spend time with the team during the year. Signed to a Reserve/Future contract by Pittsburgh in January.
Greg Gilmore: The undrafted free agent the Steelers gave their largest signing bonus, Gilmore is arguably the most exciting UFA this year who can potentially push for a roster spot.
Kendal Vickers: Not to be confused with Kendall Vickers. Another post-draft rookie signee, he reminds me a bit of Walton, a college leader with limited athleticism but with smarts.
Parker Cothren: The Penn State product was yet another undrafted rookie, who rejoins former defensive teammates Marcus Allen and Malik Golden.
Players Lost: N/A
Notes and Camp Outlook:
This was arguably the most stable group on the team last season and the Steelers bring the entire crew back, so it’s hard to predict there being any changes unless somebody makes a really strong push, the defensive ends on the 2018 roster can be copy and posted from last year’s.