The Pittsburgh Steelers certainly made some surprising and interesting decisions in whittling down their roster to 53 players yesterday, though we know it’s not going to be exactly the same 53 players that they take with them in a week’s time to Cleveland. Oh, yeah, speaking of Cleveland…
The Steelers are going to play nearly the entirety of their division schedule this season within the first half of the year, only closing against the Cincinnati Bengals because the league now creates the schedules so that they always end in a divisional game. Five of their first eight opponents will be the Bengals, the Cleveland Browns, and the Baltimore Ravens. So how about we take a look at some of the highlights from their roster cuts?
The Bengals’ biggest decision came down beforehand, when they released George Iloka, thus signaling that they are going with rookie Jessie Bates as a starting safety. They also notably cut veteran defensive end Michael Johnson, signaling a youth movement favoring Carl Lawson, Jordan Willis, and Sam Hubbard.
As for the Ravens, they opted to keep Robert Griffin III at quarterback along with rookie Lamar Jackson. This is the first time in about a decade that they have kept three quarterbacks. It’s also notable that they parted ways with Breshad Perriman, opting for rookies Jordan Lasley and Janarion Grant. They kept six wide receivers even without him.
Aside from Perriman, a couple of former third-round draft picks that also flamed out with the team saw their time end in Baltimore, those being defensive linemen Bronson Kaufusi and Carl Davis. This was on the heels of trading Kamalei Correa, a second-round linebacker who did not pan out. It’s also noteworthy that they kept four tight ends, releasing Vince Mayle and Darren Waller.
Finally, there are the Browns, who frankly didn’t do much that could be said to be surprising. They did release veteran JAG wide receiver Jeff Janis. Perhaps the most notable moves were Nate Orchard and Spencer Drango not making the team, the latter especially so after they traded fellow offensive lineman Shon Coleman.
The Browns kept six wide receivers on their roster, even after trading Corey Coleman to the Buffalo Bills, who did not make their roster. That includes three rookies, including Antonio Callaway, who may enter the regular season as their number three. Damion Ratley was a sixth-round pick and Derrick Willies a college free agent.