The Pittsburgh Steelers wrapped up their 2018 preseason Thursday night and by Saturday evening the team will need to trim their roster down to 53 active players. That means the time has come for me to submit my final roster prediction for 2018. Below is my best guess at what the 53-man roster will look like come 4:00 p.m. EST on Saturday. From there, the team will likely make a few more roster changes and might even add another player not currently under contract. It’s also important to remember that running back Le’Veon Bell is likely to be the 54th man come Saturday night with an eye toward activating the following Saturday just as they did a year ago.
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.
Previous versions are linked below:
Bryan: 2018 Steelers 53-Man Roster Prediction: Post Draft Edition
Bryan: 2018 Steelers 53-Man Roster Prediction: Post Offseason Practices Edition
Bryan: 2018 Steelers 53-Man Roster Prediction: Pre Training Camp Edition
Bryan: 2018 Steelers 53-Man Roster Prediction: Pre Preseason Game 1 Edition
Bryan: 2018 Steelers 53-Man Roster Prediction: Pre Preseason Game 3 Edition
Bryan: 2018 Steelers 53-Man Roster Prediction: Pre Preseason Game 4 Edition
Quarterbacks (3) – Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones, Mason Rudolph
Analysis: Joshua Dobbs represented himself well in the preseason finale but I just don’t see him sticking over Jones. Perhaps the Steelers can trade Dobbs for a draft pick
Running Backs (3) – James Conner, Fitzgerald Toussaint, Jaylen Samuels
Analysis: Come Saturday night, Le’Veon Bell will likely be on the Reserve/Exempt list just as he was a year ago and that will essentially give the Steelers a 54-man roster to work with until the following Saturday. Because of that, I have the Steelers keeping both Toussaint and the rookie Samuels initially. Toussaint is still more of an asset than Samuels is right now and especially when it comes to pass protection and special teams play. The Steelers cut either of them next Saturday. Probably Toussaint will be the odd man out come next Saturday to make room for Bell. Veteran Stevan Ridley I don’t think played so many, if any, special teams snaps during the preseason.
Fullbacks (1) – Roosevelt Nix
Analysis: Nix has been an easy keep all offseason once again.
Wide Receivers (6) – Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Justin Hunter, Ryan Switzer
Analysis: Wide receiver Eli Rogers will start the regular season on the team’s Reserve/PUP list to finish up recuperating from his offseason ACL surgery and the team traded for Switzer this past week to be their returner and backup slot wide receiver. The injury that Damoun Patterson suffered Thursday night might be the final straw for him and he should make it to the practice squad if it’s not serious. Hunter did enough to stay even though he doesn’t play on special teams.
Tight Ends (3) – Jesse James, Vance McDonald, Xavier Grimble
Analysis: Assuming the three listed above are ready to go Week 1, they should be the trio. If not, then perhaps Bucky Hodges sticks around a few weeks. For now, I have Hodges going to the practice squad.
Offensive Linemen (9) – Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Ramon Foster, Marcus Gilbert, Alejandro Villanueva, B.J. Finney, Matt Feiler, Chukwuma Okorafor, Zach Banner
Analysis: The first 8 are no-brainers. After that, I think the Steelers might be inclined to keep Banner as a ninth. I’m not opposed to them looking for a more experienced swing tackle on the waiver wire to be their ninth, however.
Defensive Linemen (6) – Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Javon Hargrave, Tyson Alualu, L.T. Walton, Daniel McCullers
Analysis: Rookie draft pick Joshua Frazier never even challenged for a spot while McCullers stood tall during training camp and the preseason. No reason to think that this six won’t be the six. I have Frazier going to the practice squad along with Lavon Hooks.
Inside Linebackers (4) – Jon Bostic, Vince Williams, Tyler Matakevich, Matthew Thomas
Analysis: As much as I would like to keep L.J. Fort, I just can’t carve out a spot for him. Matakevich and Thomas will both help on special teams until the latter is able to crack the starting lineup. Fort might be around if the Steelers need to bring him back for some reason. I won’t be surprised if Fort sticks as a fifth, either.
Outside Linebackers (5) – Bud Dupree, T.J. Watt, Anthony Chickillo, Keion Adams, Olasunkanmi Adeniyi
Analysis: With Watt just now getting over a hamstring injury, the Steelers might decide to carry five outside linebackers to open the season. Adeniyi and Adams both represented themselves well during the preseason and it might be a two dogs, one bone on game days for the two.
Cornerbacks (6) – Artie Burns, Joe Haden, Mike Hilton, Cameron Sutton, Brian Allen, Coty Sensabaugh
Analysis: Of this group, Sensabaugh is the one I’m most unsure about but with Hilton ending the preseason dinged up, it might be wise to keep the veteran around a little bit longer.
Safeties (4) – Morgan Burnett, Sean Davis, Nat Berhe, Terrell Edmunds
Analysis: Rookie Marcus Allen was able to play in the final two preseason games but he should be able to clear through waivers easily and make it to the practice squad. I’m also assuming that Burnett will be ready for Week 1.
Kicker (1) – Chris Boswell
Analysis: He got his new contract a few weeks ago and might get a new holder this season as well.
Punter (1) – Jordan Berry
Analysis: I still like Wile’s chances of being chosen over Berry as of Friday morning but I chickened out last minute and stayed with the incumbent. Obviously, I won’t be surprised if that doesn’t happen. Flip of a coin here.
Long Snapper (1) – Kameron Canaday
Analysis: Unchallenged and like Nix, an easy prediction.
Extra Lists (8) – Bell, Rogers, Ryan Shazier, Jerald Hawkins, Jake McGee, Trey Johnson, Ryan Malleck, Malik Golden
Week 1 Inactives: Rudolph, Washington, Banner, Sensabaugh, McCullers, Feiler, Adeniyi
|Steelers 2018 53-Man Roster Prediction For Saturday 4:00 p.m.|
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