The Pittsburgh Steelers screwed up a lot of people’s 53-man roster predictions yesterday, I would imagine, and accordingly screwed up even more of the practice squad predictions the crazy people such as myself attempted to make.
But now that the initial 53-man roster was set, I thought that it might be a fun exercise if we tried to piece together our own practice squads based on what has actually happened. I know that my practice squad was pretty much butchered. But here is what I would come up with, using only players the Steelers cut. You can feel free to use other players if you so choose. It’s almost inevitable that they will bring in at least one or two outside players.
RB Jarvion Franklin: He might not be on the initial practice squad, but he or another running back will be added later on after Le’Veon Bell is activated to the 53-man roster. He’s at least a placeholder for now.
TE Bucky Hodges: This is a no-brainer for me. He finally got a chance to flash some of his receiving skills in the preseason finale, and he also made strides as a blocker over the course of the final two games. If he can grow that part of his game, then the Steelers could have two promising young tight ends in 2019 along with Jake McGee.
WR Tevin Jones: With Marcus Tucker waived injured, he could not be re-signed to the practice squad by the Steelers immediately anyway. He could be added later. But Jones finally got a chance to show some flashes in the finale. He made some mistakes, too, but that’s what the practice squad is about cleaning up.
WR Quadree Henderson: I’m surprising myself a bit with this one, but the fact is the Steelers have room, and they like him. Damoun Patterson is going to revert to injured reserve, and I’m guessing Tucker is weeks away, so the only other real option is Trey Griffey.
OL R.J. Prince: The undrafted rookie free agent was reportedly told that the team would like to bring him back to the practice squad. This is one that I had making it. With nine linemen on the 53-man roster, he figures to be the only one here.
DL Lavon Hooks: I thought he was the best defensive lineman of the preseason behind the starters, showing the ability to make plays. I wanted to give him strong consideration for the 53-man roster, but knew he wouldn’t make it. It would be a shame if he doesn’t make it back here.
DL Joshua Frazier: It’s a bit of a toss-up between a number of players, including Greg Gilmore and Casey Sayles, but I’m giving the benefit of the doubt to the draft pick for now and the Karl Dunbar connection. The team likes to carry eight defensive linemen.
OLB Keion Adams: A player I figured would make the 53-man roster, he is a no-brainer to sign to the practice squad provided that he clears waivers. He showed potential as a pass-rusher and can develop his all-around game.
CB Brian Allen: This is another no-brainer to re-sign to the practice squad provided that he clears waivers. Allen is already a rosterable special teams player and I’m surprised he didn’t make it for that alone, but he still has the opportunity to develop at his position.
CB Jamar Summers: With only five cornerbacks on the 53-man roster, they carry two on the practice squad. Dashaun Phillips, I just remembered, is no longer eligible. Summers is likely a placeholder.
TE Christian Scotland-Williamson: The international player, I see no reason that the team wouldn’t carry him since it comes at no penalty for doing so. I think he represented himself reasonably well for a player just learning to play football.