A little more information this time around, the Pittsburgh Steelers wrapping up all 15 practices and concluding their first preseason game a week ago. Still plenty of time left for things to change but here’s my current guess at the roster and practice squad.
Quarterbacks (3) – Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones, Mason Rudolph
Analysis: Josh Dobbs has talent to warrant a spot on a 53 roster and can be a competent backup in this league. But this isn’t the group he’s going to be able to crack.
Running Backs (4) – Le’Veon Bell, James Conner, Jaylen Samuels, Fitzgerald Toussaint
Analysis: Flipping my selection from Stevan Ridley to Toussaint. Toussaint undoubtedly has superior special teams value and a guy you trust to do a little of everything if Bell goes down. Ridley being injured doesn’t help him either.
Fullbacks (1) – Roosevelt Nix
Analysis: No debate here.
Wide Receivers (5) – Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Justin Hunter
Analysis: This is still a tough one. Don’t like Damoun Patterson’s odds of making the 53, far too inconsistent at this point, but Marcus Tucker is coming on strong. For now, sticking with the five, but definitely a debate to be had here. Tucker the 55th guy on my roster right now.
Tight Ends (3) – Vance McDonald, Jesse James, Xavier Grimble
Analysis: It’s hard to get a great read on this situation with all the injuries. But assuming McDonald and Grimble are ready for Week One, this is going to be the group.
Offensive Linemen (8) – Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Ramon Foster, Marcus Gilbert, Alejandro Villanueva, B.J. Finney, Matt Feiler, Chukwuma Okorafor
Analysis: These are the eight locks and with each week, it looks increasingly unlikely that the team keeps a 9th, unless there’s someone who gets cut they really end up liking. Okorafor has played well overall.
Defensive Linemen (6) – Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Javon Hargrave, Tyson Alualu, L.T. Walton, Daniel McCullers
Analysis: Feels practically certain these are the six. If there’s anyone here in danger of getting cut, it’s actually become Walton. I don’t think that ultimately happens though.
Inside Linebackers (5) – Jon Bostic, Vince Williams, Tyler Matakevich, Matthew Thomas, L.J. Fort
Analysis: Thomas has enough intrigue with his athleticism and the Steelers seem interested in his pass rush ability. He might not be active right away but a good stash candidate to give them some quality depth.
Outside Linebackers (4) – Bud Dupree, T.J. Watt, Anthony Chickillo, Keion Adams
Analysis: Ola Adeniyi winds up being the 54th man on my roster. Nothing that he has done wrong but I believe he can make it through waivers and is a solid stash candidate on the practice squad. He’s not ready to see the field yet, even on special teams. Can call him up whenever there’s an injury.
Cornerbacks (6) – Artie Burns, Joe Haden, Mike Hilton, Cameron Sutton, Brian Allen, Coty Sensabaugh
Analysis: It’s a defensive backs world and we’re all living in it. With a team who wants to use as many as 7 DBs during the game, it wouldn’t be a shock for them to go super heavy in this group. Sensabaugh isn’t a starting corner but as a #6? That’s fantastic.
Safeties (5) – Morgan Burnett, Sean Davis, Nat Berhe, Terrell Edmunds, Jordan Dangerfield
Analysis: I’m on the Dangerfield train. A guy who saw serious playing time on the defense just two years ago, he’s an excellent special teamer and a guy who is making more plays in coverage than he has ever before. Marcus Allen and Malik Golden are still in play but going with the known commodity here. It’s nice to keep around at least some players who have played in this system, too. 11 DBs is super heavy but like I said, you follow the talent and the guys who can produce, especially on special teams. Dangerfield beats out Adeniyi.
Kicker (1) – Chris Boswell
Analysis: No question.
Punter (1) – Jordan Berry
Analysis: Yes, he’s coming off a bad game, but my evaluation runs deeper than a couple of punts in Green Bay.
Long Snapper (1) – Kameron Canaday
Analysis: Locked in.
Gameday Inactives (7)
RB: Fitzgerald Toussaint
WR: Justin Hunter
OL: Matt Feiler
DL: Daniel McCullers
CB: Coty Sensabaugh
ILB: Matthew Thomas
S: Jordan Dangerfield
Practice Squad (11)
QB: Josh Dobbs
WR: Marcus Tucker, Damoun Patterson
TE: Christian Scotland-Williamson
OL: R.J. Prince, Zach Banner
DL: Lavon Hooks
OLB: Farrington Huguenin, Ola Adeniyi
ILB: Keith Kelsey
S: Marcus Allen
Analysis: Steelers will attempt to stick Dobbs on the practice squad. Tucker and Patterson are high probability names for the practice squad. Going Banner over Rodgers for one of my changes. Joshua Frazier is a surprise cut but if you forgot about the draft pick label and his relationship to Karl Dunbar, has he done anything to warrant a spot on the team? Don’t need three nose tackles on this team anyway. Like what Hooks has done.
Adeniyi shifts to the practice squad alongside Huguenin, who has impressed as a pass rusher. Removing Dashaun Phillips after going so heavy in the secondary on the 53. Still searching for a way to get Malik Golden on the practice squad. Having trouble making the numbers work though.