The Pittsburgh Steelers will play their third preseason game of 2018 Saturday and at home against the Tennessee Titans so I figured I would go ahead and take another stab at predicting the 53-man roster being as it’s been a few weeks since I have done so.
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 guesstimate at the Steelers 53-man roster will be posted just before the team’s final preseason game against the Carolina Panthers.
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
Quarterbacks (3) – Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones, Mason Rudolph
Analysis: Yeah, no changes in this group once again. While Joshua Dobbs has looked somewhat improved during his second preseason, there’s no reason to keep him as a fourth. While practice squad is an option, does it really make sense to carry him there when he’ll use up a spot and get even less reps than he would as a No. 3?
Running Backs (3) – Le’Veon Bell, James Conner, Fitzgerald Toussaint
Analysis: I’ve been all over the place with this group. Personally, I don’t think rookie Jaylen Samuels has done enough during the preseason to warrant a spot on the 53-man roster. There are two weeks still remaining, however. Toussaint isn’t a fan favorite, but he does all the little things so well that wind up getting players bottom roster spots. He contributes on special teams, he pass protects very well and he can run with the football and catch out of the backfield. Samuels should easily make the practice squad.
Fullbacks (1) – Roosevelt Nix
Analysis: How much of Nix will we see Saturday against the Titans?
Wide Receivers (6) – Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Marcus Tucker, Damoun Patterson
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. Veteran Justin Hunter just isn’t worth retaining, in my opinion, and especially being as he’s still no help on special teams. Patterson needs a few nice final preseason games to lock up a roster spot. Tucker is probably still in play for a spot as well. I’m keeping six this time around with Tucker and Patterson being in a two dogs, one bone situation.
Tight Ends (3) – Jesse James, Vance McDonald, Xavier Grimble
Analysis: What a mess this group is right now. McDonald and Grimble are both sidelined with injuries. The early word is, however, that both will be ready for the start of the regular season. If either isn’t, perhaps late addition Bucky Hodges finds his way on the initial 53 for a few weeks.
Offensive Linemen (8) – Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Ramon Foster, Marcus Gilbert, Alejandro Villanueva, B.J. Finney, Matt Feiler, Chukwuma Okorafor
Analysis: This is a nice group of 8 and being as its hard to identify a ninth with two preseason games remaining, I’ll stick with this group. Here’s to these eight staying healthy a few more weeks.
Defensive Linemen (6) – Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Javon Hargrave, Tyson Alualu, L.T. Walton, Daniel McCullers
Analysis: Rookie Joshua Frazier appears to be slated for the practice squad. It also looks like Big Dan will stick once again as the No. 6. I would have lost a lot of money on him this offseason.
Inside Linebackers (5) – Jon Bostic, Vince Williams, Tyler Matakevich, L.J. Fort, Matthew Thomas
Analysis: I think Thomas has done enough to stick and Fort remaining a tough player to cut. I have the Steelers keeping 10 linebackers in total this go around and that might be one too many. Fort very well might be the odd man out.
Outside Linebackers (5) – Bud Dupree, T.J. Watt, Anthony Chickillo, Keion Adams, Olasunkanmi Adeniyi
Analysis: Two dogs, one bone on a weekly basis with Adams and Adeniyi. I really think five need to be carries at this position if another more experienced edge-rusher isn’t added right before the start of the regular season.
Cornerbacks (6) – Artie Burns, Joe Haden, Mike Hilton, Cameron Sutton, Brian Allen, Coty Sensabaugh
Analysis: Hilton is a little dinged up right now. It really makes a lot of sense to keep six cornerbacks in total with Sensabaugh being one of them.
Safeties (4) – Morgan Burnett, Sean Davis, Nat Berhe, Terrell Edmunds
Analysis: Will rookie Marcus Allen finally get back on the field Saturday? If he doesn’t, it will be really hard for him to stick. Right now I have the Steelers keeping only four safeties with Allen going to the practice squad. On not sold on Berhe being a lock, but his special teams play makes him hard to cut.
Kicker (1) – Chris Boswell
Analysis: He got his new contract this week.
Punter (1) – Jordan Berry
Analysis: He needs to be more consistent against the Titans on Saturday.
Long Snapper (1) – Kameron Canaday
Analysis: No problems so far that have been visible on television. We haven’t been talking about him so that’s a great sign.
Summary: After having all seven draft picks making the 53-man roster for most of the summer, I now only have the first four making it. Too much of an over-correction? Maybe, we’ll see.
Week 1 Inactives: Rudolph, Patterson, Sensabaugh, Adeniyi, McCullers, Feiler, Thomas
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