Look at me. I’m the captain now.
Kevin Colbert, you’ve lost Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, and your Pittsburgh Steelers folded like a house of cards in missing the playoffs. Cleveland is looking like the more competent team. Cleveland. Time to pack your bags.
We’re back for the now the fifth edition of the Steelers’ mock offseason. Honestly, it’s my favorite article to write of the entire year. Yes, in the end, it’s fruitless and definitely doesn’t mean anything, but a good reminder why I should never actually run an NFL franchise. And it’s a ton of fun.
As always, we’re using Fanspeak’s offseason and draft simulator. The fun thing about the offseason is that for me, I give it one shot. If I screw up, and you know I have in the past, then I gotta live with it. This year, mistakes were definitely made.
Something new this time around, too. Fanspeak has a premium package where you can combine the offseason and draft for the entire league, instead of doing them separately (like I used to do) that includes draft pick trading. Only costs me $12 Depot Bucks – still trying to get my landlord to accept that as payment – for the year. And yes, their mock draft was already set up with the picks acquired from Arizona and Oakland when I ran the sim Sunday night. I’ll have links to those at the bottom of the post.
Without delaying any more, let’s walk through the Steelers 2019 offseason and see if I can run the team better than they can. There sure is a lot to fix….
Before wading into free agency, where I’m determined to make the splashes Colbert never has, we have to evaluate our own roster. That starts with getting an idea of our cap space. The simulator doesn’t always have the most accurate information here but this year, that’s to our benefit. We kick things off with a little more than $21 million in cap space, prior to making any roster moves.
As there always are, I make several cuts before free agency begins. The players I let go?
Xavier Grimble. I’m not ok paying that tender amount.
Matt McCrane. He’s the size of me and kicks like it, too. Pass.
Phazahn Odom. Because the sim always throws one name of someone long gone from the roster.
Bud Dupree. The big one. Internally, I hope to re-sign him to a cheaper rate which, hint hint Pittsburgh-in-real-life, you should’ve probably considered.
Now I’m up to a cool $34 million in cap space. Yes, I’m still going to drive my McLumina. If you’re curious, here are the notable cuts from around the NFL.
Blake Bortles gets cut. My heart goes out to Jason Mendoza.
New this year, at least to the premium model, is the ability to tag players. Guess whose name shows up on the list? The devil works hard but Fanspeak’s simulator works harder.
Obviously, that’s not going to happen here with me. Buh-bye, Bell.
Also, weirdly, Vince Williams is somehow a free agent? Clearly not true but in this reality, he’s about to walk. But we’ll get to him in a moment.
The #1 guy I want to sign? Ramon Foster. Leader of the o-line. Consistently excellent. Battling Father Time into the 11th round. Let’s give him basically the same offer the real Steelers made. 2 years, $8.2 million with nearly $3 million of that a signing bonus. Who’s greedier? Real or fake Ramon?
I submit my offer and…
Shut. Down. Unlucky or a sign of things to come? I up the offer incrementally, seeing if that’ll sweeten the deal. Same years but $8.8 million total and more guaranteed. No dice, still rejects it. Remains high on my list but we’ll come back to him at the end. Other players to focus on.
Jesse James might be gone in real life but I think I can convince him to stay. No drama. No Kardashians. Pinky swear. And my offer reflects it in this tight end hot market. Three years, $13.5 million, and a couple cents over $4 million in his bonus.
Signed! First one of the board and makes me feel better about struggling to retain Foster.
Now I gotta deal with Vince. He shouldn’t be there but he is and you guys know I’m a #98 fan. Just hope it’s not going to cost much to get it done. A modest two-year, $7.4 mil deal. Nope, he rejects it, which is fair. Kinda a low-ball offer for a guy I envision to start. Another guy I’ll circle back to before we begin free agency.
Decided to leverage Williams’ deal by attempting to re-sign L.J. Fort. Maybe that’ll be the motivation to get Williams back to the table. Fort is a quality backup who could start for the right team, and should have a role in the Steelers’ sub-packages, especially if I can’t get the three-down linebacker I want in free agency or draft. For Fort, I slide his agent a one year, $2 million deal. Maybe a little pricey but I can’t let both guys gone and Fort is worth the money.
He happily accepts and we have our second player returning to black and gold.
Now for a tougher one. Trying to convince Dupree to take less. Both sides know he’s not worth $9.2 million, anyone with access to a box score and basic math skills gets that, but he has the leverage of that being the option that tells him what he’s worth.
But I make it clear. Take less with us or *try* to get it on the market. Good luck with that. So I make my first offer. Two years, 10.6 million, 35% of that guaranteed.
Is it enough?
Accepted! Win in my book. Dupree has value to this team and is one less position of dire need I gotta address – Lord knows there’s a laundry list of those already – plus I get the extra year of him on the cheap. If he has to become a backup by 2020, I can live with that.
Let’s check in on our cap space…
Still in pretty good shape. Let’s finish off the re-signings. Last couple guys on my list: Williams, Foster, and oh yeah, Anthony Chickillo and Coty Sensabaugh.
Chickillo is a quality special teamer. Just don’t let him anywhere near an offensive tackler. So my offer reflects that, just one-year for $1.2 mil and meager $240K bonus. He doesn’t haggle and accepts it. Good enough for me. Sensabaugh agrees to the same deal with just a 10% bonus. Good depth to carry into the summer. Also threw a minimum offer to Jordan Berry which he promptly turns down. Moving on there.
Now onto the final two. Put in a higher offer for Williams: 2 years, $8.2, $3.28 million of that guaranteed. Very comparable to what I initially put in for Foster. Let’s see if it’s enough.
He accepts! One down, one to go.
Foster is the final thorn in my side. One last offer. My best one. If he doesn’t take it, I have to let him go. B.J. Finney is a starter-in-waiting and I plan on making a big move – moves? – on the defensive side of the ball. The contract: 2 years, $10 million, $4 mil guaranteed. I submit the offer, hold my breath, and cross my fingers.
I feel like shutting down the offseason. Starting all over. See if I can’t make it work. But those aren’t the rules. So I end the free agency period.
The players I re-signed:
Jesse James: 3 years, $13.5 million ($4.05 mil guaranteed)
Bud Dupree: 2 years, $10.6 million ($3.71 guaranteed)
Vince Williams: 2 years, $8.2 million ($3.28 guaranteed)
L.J Fort: 1 year, $2 million ($200K guaranteed)
Anthony Chickillo: 1 year, $1.2 million ($240K guaranteed)
Coty Sensabaugh: 1 year, $1.2 million ($120K guaranteed)
The players I didn’t re-sign:
Oh yeah, Damion Stafford showed up on my list. Guess he’s still contemplating retirement.
Cap space, cap space, cap space. Name of the game. Let’s see what we’re working with.
To get better perspective of my roster needs, I listed out all the players under contract on my roster, excluding the futures contracts. That’s when I realized it. My mistake. My. Huge. Mistake.
I forgot to cut Morgan Burnett.
*throws computer out the window*
I saw Jon Bostic’s name first. Probably should’ve cut him too, I don’t see much of a future, But ok, I can keep him through camp. But Burnett? He’s eating up over $6 million.. Should’ve cut him, wanted to cut him, and totally blanked sifting through the roster. The sim doesn’t let me release him now and pretending to cut him and have the extra cap space can’t actually work; I’m not able to go into the red on here.
So here’s how I’m going to rationalize my mistake. Originally, I planned on having a couple extra million in cap space by the end of free agency, a rainy day fund to plan for in-season moves. Instead, I’ll eat up all my cap and “cut” Burnett after the draft, clearing the money that way.
But yeah, I forgot to cut a player. Don’t hire me to run your franchise.
Burnett aside, here’s how my roster looks, the ones under contract and excluding futures players, before the free agents starting knocking on my door. I hope. Eli Rogers doesn’t exist in the sim for some reason, I didn’t see him anywhere, so sorry, he’s not here.
QB: Ben Roethlisberger, Josh Dobbs, Mason Rudolph
RB: James Conner, Jaylen Samuels, Trey Edmunds
FB: Rosie Nix
WR: JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Ryan Switzer
TE: Vance McDonald, Jesse James
OT: Alejandro Villanueva, Matt Feiler, Chukwuma Okorafor, Jerald Hawkins, Zach Banner
OG/C: David DeCastro, Maurkice Pouncey, B.J. Finney
DE: Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Tyson Alualu
NT: Javon Hargrave
OLB: Bud Dupree, T.J. Watt, Anthony Chickillo, Ola Adeniyi
ILB: Vince Williams, L.J. Fort, Jon Bostic, Tyler Matakevich
CB: Joe Haden, Artie Burns, Mike Hilton, Cam Sutton, Brian Allen, Coty Sensabaugh
S: Sean Davis, Terrell Edmunds, Jordan Dangerfield, Marcus Allen, Morgan Burnett
K: Chris Boswell
LS: Kam Canaday
45 players on the roster.
Free Agency – Day One
Time to go to work. No dumpster diving. Gotta find an impact player. And I know who I’m starting with. Eagles’ inside linebacker Jordan Hicks. The splashy, three-down Mack linebacker to replace Ryan Shazier. Yes, the injury history is as lengthy as his big plays. But it’s worth it, knowing the draft only has a pair of top tier guys, Devin White and Devin Bush. At pick 20, I may not get either.
My opening bid: 2 years, $13.6 million, and a $4.76 million signing bonus.
Receiver jumps up as a need with Antonio Brown – it’s nice to wait this long into an article to write his name – except for the first paragraph, I know – gone. So I make a smaller deal Chris Conley’s way, whose speed can be better utilized in the Steelers’ system. Two years, $5.4 million, 25% guaranteed.
And one last last attempt at Foster, who I still hate seeing not on my roster. But it’s a small increase and a longshot. Two years, $10.5 million, just under $4.7 million of that guaranteed.
I click the green “done submitting offers” button to tell me the Day One results.
Strike. Strike. Strike. I’m out.
Not sure if I’ve ever done that poor of a job out of the shoot. Much more activity going on around the rest of the league. Le’Veon Bell’s new team? The New York Jets. But at a lot less than he was expecting. 5 years, $56.5 million. Can’t help but smile a little seeing that.
Some of the other action from the first day.
Free Agency – Day Two
Same offer for Conley, just slightly more guaranteed. Hicks, though, I up the ante quite a bit. A three year commitment worth $21.3 million, $7.45 of that guaranteed.
Adding in outside linebacker Eli Harold in the mix. Virginia Beach guy so you know Mike Tomlin is begging to sign the guy. Some depth to compete as the #3 outside linebacker. But it’s a minor one-year, $1.1 mil deal with very little guaranteed.
Let’s see if there’s any movement…
Hicks! He’s in. I screamed into my laptop because this is what my life has become. Definitely wasn’t signing Harold for that money so yeah, have fun in Houston. And Conley is still on the table. Maybe I can snag him.
But we got our guy. We have Hicks. Praise the Football Gods.
Free Agency – Day Three
Little over $13 million in cap space remaining.
Had two thoughts here. I made my splash. I could sit back, finish with a couple middle to low-tier signings, call it a day and head to the draft.
Or I could go for another bite at the apple. Take advantage of the cap space and attack another high-profile free agent. Do something never seen before in a Steelers’ offseason.
Let’s go for it.
With my inside linebacker in the fold, I turn my attention to the secondary, still a bigger need than even inside linebacker, and specifically, the huge void at cornerback. The top corner on my list? Denver’s Bradley Roby. So I throw the first deal his way. And it’s a doozy.
4 years, $32 million, $9.6 guaranteed.
Anyone else breaking out in a cold sweat? I definitely am.
I gotta offset it with a very typical Steelers budget move. Still no punter on the roster so searching through the list, I target Andy Lee. He led the league in yards per punt in 2018 at age 36. There’s juice left in that leg. One year, $1.3 million but a large guarantee since it is just one year and if he signs, I see no reason why he wouldn’t make the roster.
Let’s see how it turned out.
Yeah, not great.
The rest of the league is even stranger. For some reason, the sim LOVES offensive tackle Ben Ijalana. He’s still hanging around even after being out of the league all last year. He gets an absurd $14 million deal from Oakland. Though with the way they’re spending in real life, maybe it’s more accurate than I think.
We finally know what takes Ramon Foster to ink a contract. Over $8 million per year to the Bills, revenge for the AB deal falling through.
And Martavis Bryant pops up to take a boatload of money. It’s bad when this happens around the league and I still suck at building a roster.
Free Agency – Day Four
Same three players I’ve been hunting: Roby, Conley, and Lee. Good football players, terrible law firm. Here are the offers:
Roby: 4 years, $36 million
Conley: 2 years, $6 million (it was the same offer as before, I don’t understand why I did this)
Lee: 2 years, $2.9 million
Nope, nope, and nope.
Free Agency – Day Five
Another go at Roby because I’m stubborn like that. 4 years, $36.6 million and some additional guarantees.
Two new names to add in. Instead of looking for a receiver on offense, I search for a special teamer to replace DHB. Top of the ticket for that is the Chargers’ Geremy Davis, who hasn’t done much on offense – just two career catches – but a key and core special teamer. Like Chickillo, a one-year, $1.2 million offer.
Finally search for some defensive line help, too. A backup nose tackle with McCullers long gone. The Texans’ Brandon Dunn is an interesting, cheap option, a run plugger if there ever was one. He gets a two year, $3.5 million opening bid with about $700K of that guaranteed.
I conclude the day, careful of not going over the cap (you can’t rescind an offer once it’s submitted).
Davis signs, that’s not a surprise, but the other two decline. A tedious process. The Steelers Way.
Conley takes close to $5 million per year to take his talents to Atlanta. Definitely a number I wasn’t going to come close to. Though I am wondering if I should’ve went after Tyrann Mathieu instead…
Also Nat Berhe got a five year deal.
Free Agency – Day Six
I’m fed up with Roby. I had this perfect vision inside my head after inking Hicks. Then I’d get Roby and the city would carry me around on their shoulders. But he won’t budge, I’m running out of money, and have no idea what it’ll take to get this guy in a Steelers’ uniform. So I make, in hindsight, a regrettable offer you should absolutely yell at me for.
Five years, $45 million, over 20 of that guaranteed.
At least I didn’t pay Kwon Alexander $13 million a year…
Two other, far less crazy moves.
New punter in the mix. Pat O’Donnell. Kicked in Chicago, so used to the bad weather. $1.3 mil for one year. And an old friend, Wesley Johnson, stolen away years ago but available again. With Foster gone, my interior offensive line is hurting so I pounce on him to be the new Finney. For a good price, of course. 2 years, $3 million, 20% guaranteed.
Come on Roby. Sign the dang dotted line.
Nada. O’Donnell is out too, the punters playing hardball. But I bring Johnson into the fold. So the boring signings are motoring right along.
Free Agency – Day Seven
Let’s revisit our cap space. Little under $11 million.
I need a new tactic. I think I’ve been approach wrong with Roby, stretching out the years and overall money. I need to shrink it down and increase the average yearly value. So I aim for the magic $10 million per year number and it’s about as high as I’m going to go. Don’t know if I’m saying or asking that.
Why not focus on other corners? Good question. Like I said, I’m stubborn as a mule and do some dumb things because of it. So my new Roby offer: 3 years, $30 million, $12 of that in the form of a signing bonus.
After giving up on Conley, I take a gander Breshad Perriman’s way. After flaming out in Baltimore, he reinvented himself in Cleveland and can be that situational deep threat who can become good depth if I spend a high draft pick on the position. Two years, $3.4 million, with about $700K guaranteed.
But the main focus is Roby. To try to find an angle, an “in” to get him committed here. Can I finally pull it off? Or was all this a waste of both of our times?
I’m done for the day, click, and wait.
YES! Ladies and gentleman, we got him. The new approach worked and while it’s a hefty deal, surpassing Hicks as the biggest in team free agency history, I have a #1 ILB and #1 corner. I have talent, playmakers, and my draft board is wide open. Perriman rejects me? Who cares? Got Roby.
Free Agency – Day Eight
Day eight of ten. With the Roby signing rocking the organization, I gotta check how much money I’ve got left, Know it isn’t much but maybe we’re not done making moves yet.
Enough for a couple more Dollar Menu deals. So that’s where my focus is at. Two offers I put out there.
Pat O’Donnell/P: 2 years, $3.1 million
Rodney Gunter/DE: 2 years, $3.2 million
Gunter is additional defensive line depth. A better pass rusher than Alualu, he really fills out the d-line, even if the nose tackle spot is still a little shaky.
Gunter signs right away and I know I”m set at defensive end. Keep on filling draft needs.
Free Agency – Day Nine/Ten
Lumping these together, mostly for your sake because we’re 3000 words into this thing and haven’t even turned in a draft card yet. The only thing I wanted to do at this point was sign a punter, knowing I could select a kicker in the draft and taking two specialists is insane, even for me.
A final offer from O’Donnell was turned down but I managed to sign Shane Lechler to a two-year, $3.4 million deal. Old but with a leg and a former QB, I can run a trick play with him if I’d want (and you bet I do).
Lechler accepts and I end free agency. Here are all my signings, from most to least.
Bradley Roby/CB: 3 years, $30 million ($12 mil guaranteed)
Jordan Hicks/LB: 3 years, $21.3 million ($7.45 guaranteed)
Shane Lechler/P: 2 years, $3.4 million ($1.36 guaranteed)
Rodney Gunter/DE: 2 years, $3.2 million ($800K guaranteed)
Wes Johnson/G-C: 2 years, $3 million ($600K guaranteed)
Geremy Davis/WR: 1 year, $1.2 million ($180K guaranteed)
Cap space? I came out ahead by a nose, still $845,000 sitting in my account. But with the uh, forgotten Burnett signing, and everyone else that could/will be cut (hello Artie Burns), I’ll have plenty of room after the draft.
Ten picks. Ability to trade. What a time to be alive. But it’s all about making it count. I go into the draft with needs at inside linebacker and corner filled, though it’s possible to add at both. If you want to replicate things, here’s my setup: 7 rounds, using Matt Miller’s draft board – it was recently updated and had the most amount of players on the board – on the “difficult” level, whatever that means.
Here’s what I’m starting with. Cut off in the photo of my picks are an additional 6th rounder and a 7th.
Let’s get crackin’.
*The list of draft picks is below. Scroll through if you don’t want to read my whole process.
Round One: Although trading up in the first is a nice idea, I don’t feel I have to. Had I not gotten an inside linebacker? Yeah, I’m selling anything I can find to move up for Devin Bush. Hope fans enjoying walking into “Heinz Field brought to you by John Elway’s 1st round pick” for the next 30 years.
But I’m feeling ok. So I sit at 20. When it comes time to pick, I receive a couple offers.
Ok, I’ll admit it. The Patriots offer looks good. Really good. But I don’t trust whatever Jedi Mind tricks their pulling and decline both offers, staying put. I know who I want.
Let’s replace AB. The man? Iowa State’s Hakeem Butler. A big body, perfect for Big Ben, but with more quickness and ability to separate than you’d think for a 6’5, 230 pound frame. So I turn in the card for the league’s newest Pittsburgh Steeler.
One round in and I’ve already solved the issues at receiver, corner, and inside linebacker. Briefly, I considered trading up into the late first round for a pass rusher but there wasn’t a name – Jaylon Ferguson and Chase Winovich the top two – I loved enough to do so. Besides, I had other plans for the next big move I wanted to pull off.
Round Two: I’m determined to trade up. Next on my list is to fix the dime linebacker spot, where the team has put square pegs in round holes for the last three years (Golden, Gay, Burnett, and gasp, Berhe for a hot minute). My target? A Dave Bryan favorite, Florida’s Chauncey Garner-Johnson. Versatile, he’ll play in dime, serve as safety depth, and help make my defense matchup/gameplan proof.
Not willing to sit around and hope he falls to me, I try to move up. I call up our old pal Bruce Arians, sitting with the 39th pick, 13 spots ahead of us. Offer my two and a four for his troubles but he declines. Offer again with the same structure, plus swapping 5ths (they would move up four spots) and a future 6th round pick.
Still no. Arians is holding firm and the Bucs end up taking Old Dominion DE Oshane Ximines with their pick. Five picks later, I give Green Bay a ring.
Let’s make a deal.
We hammer it out. Here’s the final agreement:
Pittsburgh sends: 52, 123, 194 + 2020 6th round pick
Green Bay sends: 44 + 2020 7th round pick
That’s a second, fourth, and two sixths for their second and seventh. Is it a lot? Maybe. Plenty of late round picks and I felt comfortable packaging them, knowing I had ten to work with. And when you want to get your guy, you get him.
With the deal complete, my selection is made. Welcome to the Burgh, CGJ. My draft picks, after the trade and prior to selecting Gardner-Johnson.
Round Three: Two selections here, 66 and 84. At 66, I got a strong offer from the Denver Broncos to move down just a couple spots to 72 and pick back up a 4th rounder. I initially decided against it, changed my mind, offered the exact thing back, and they turned me down. Offer really was expired and another lesson in how not to be a GM. Don’t hesitate.
So at 66, I stand pat. Didn’t love the picks on the board but I spy Michigan cornerback David Long, who impressed at the Combine and has the athleticism to play in the Steelers’ man scheme. So he’s my guy.
With 84, I was targeting TCU Edge rusher Ben Banogu. Another mistake brewing. Alex, trade down, you missed out last time. You can still get Banogu.
I make the trade, sending 84 to the Los Angeles Rams for 95 and 135.
When it’s my turn to pick, I filter through the EDGE rushers for Banogu. Oh no. He’s not there. I scroll to the recent picks. The Jets took him six spots ahead of me.
At this point, trading back again probably would’ve been the smart thing to do. But I sorta, maybe, kinda panicked, desperate for an edge rusher. Settled on Oregon’s Justin Hollins, who I like, just not as much. But he’s long, athletic, and there’s upside there. So he’s the guy at 95, for better or worse. At least I got my 4th rounder back I gave in the Gardner-Johnson deal.
Round Four: No trades here. I double-dip on receiver, getting good value in Ohio State’s Terry McLaurin. A speedy receiver who can play the X and maybe the Z. He’s also an excellent special teamer and can come in to contribute as a gunner and kick coverage guy Day One, since I don’t bank on him cracking the starting lineup. Happy about this one.
Round Five: Inside linebacker Terrill Hanks falls into my lap. 5th round is lower than I expected but a Combine hamstring pull left him with a 4.99 and not much else. Really hurt his stock. I jump on the value, knowing he’s still a rangy, instinctive player with loads of upside. My ILB depth chart made a huge turnaround this year.
Round Six: Two selections here. I tried to trade back from my early 6th rounder, pick 176, but couldn’t find any takers. So I stood pat and selected Utah kicker Matt Gay, a cold-weather tested kicker with a cannon for a leg. He’s my Chris Boswell competition.
With my second 6th rounder, I turn to a running back in my first mock draft. Miami (FL)’s Travis Homer, a well-put together runner who can get vertical, pass protect, and run down punts and kicks. He’ll compete to be the #3 and I expect him to win the job.
Round Seven: Some extra offensive line depth because as the Steelers have shown, that’s never a bad thing. I look through the Rolodex of versatile interior linemen and land on Iowa’s Keegan Render. 6’4, 307, he started three years for the Hawkeyes with work at both guard spots and center. Team captain and one of the most respected players in the locker room. Could be Finney 2.0.
So to recap, because I know I went long and haphazard with the trades, here are my draft picks.
#20 – Hakeem Butler/WR Iowa State
#44 (from GB) – Chauncey Gardner-Johnson/DIME Florida
#66 – David Long/CB Michigan
#95 (from LAR) – Justin Hollins/EDGE Oregon
#123 (from LAR) – Terry McLaurin/WR Ohio State
#142 – Terrill Hanks/ILB New Mexico State
#176 – Matt Gay/K Utah
#209 – Travis Homer/RB Miami (FL)
#221 – Keegan Render/OG-C Iowa
Visually, here are the pair of trades I made.
After the draft, finally, I cut ties with Burnett and Bostic. Factor in the futures players, and I have 79 of my 90 man roster. There’s room to add 11 UDFAs. This year, I wanted to take it an additional step. Build an entire rookie minicamp squad, complete with tryout players. Here are the UDFA/tryouts listed below, followed by my entire 55 rookie minicamp roster. Did my best to guesstimate some of the first-year players and who would still be eligible.
Kendall Blanton/TE Missouri
Olive Sagapolu/NT Wisconsin
Kelvin McKnight/WR Samford
George Aston/FB Pitt
Jeremy King/OG-C Valdosta State
Chidi Okeke/OT Tennessee State
Keaton Sutherland/OG Texas A&M
Rocco Di Leo/DT Dartmouth
Kemon Hall/CB North Texas
Nick Scott/S Penn State
Billy Kinney/P West Virginia
Daquan Worley/DB Duquesne (tryout)
Malik Akins/DL Cal U (tryout)
Jimmy Walker/QB Robert Morris (tryout)
Alex Boatman/LS Idaho (tryout)
Lenny Williams Jr./RB IUP (tryout)
Kendic Mallory/WR Youngstown State (tryout)
Kyle Bambard/K NC State (tryout)
Tony Lashley/ILB Boise St (tryout)
Brandon Vocco/DL Clarion (tryout)
Ben Knox/OT Colorado State (tryout)
Kyle Chung/OT Virginia Tech (tryout)
Josh Dulaney/OLB William & Mary (tryout)
James Nachtigal/OLB Army (tryout)
Delvon Randall/SS Temple (tryout)
Javien Hamilton/CB Ole Miss (tryout)
Rookie minicamp roster.
QB: Brogan Roback, Jimmy Walker
RB: Malik Williams, Ralph Webb, Lenny Williams, Travis Homer
FB: George Aston
WR: Hakeem Butler, Terry McLaurin, Ka’Ruan White, Tevin Jones, Trey Griffey, Kendric Mallory, Kelvin McKnight, Diontae Spencer
TE: Kendall Blanton, Jake McGee, Christian Scotland-Williamson, Bucky Hodges, Kevin Radar
OT: RJ Prince, Chidi Okeke, Ben Knox, Kyle Chung
OG/C: Keegan Render, Patrick Morris, Jeremy King, Keaton Sutherland
DL: Lavon Hooks, Brandon Vocco, Olive Sagapolu, Rocco Di Leo, Malik Akins, Connor Sheehy
OLB: Justin Hollins, Keion Adams, Josh Dulaney, James Nachtigal
ILB: Terrill Hanks, Robert Spillane, Tegray Scales, Keith Kelsey, Tony Lashley
CB: David Long, Herb Waters, Kemon Hall, Daquan Worley, Javien Hamilton
S: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Nick Scott, Marcelis Branch, Delvon Randall
K: Matt Gay, Kyle Bambard
P: Billy Kinney
LS: Alex Boatman
Two tryout players made the team. Lenny Williams, successfully converting from his QB days, and Delvon Randall. Malik Williams and Nick Scott are cut in corresponding moves.
Here’s your 90 man roster heading into training camp. Shazier was placed on Reserve/PUP with hopes of returning in 2020.
QB: Ben Roethlisberger, Josh Dobbs, Mason Rudolph, Brogan Roback
RB: James Conner, Jaylen Samuels, Travis Homer, Trey Edmunds, Lenny Williams, Ralph Webb
FB: Rosie Nix, Greg Aston
WR: JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Hakeem Butler, Ryan Switzer, Terry McLaurin, Geremy Davis, Dionate Spencer, Ka’Raun White, Tevin Jones, Trey Griffey, Kelvin McKnight
TE: Vance McDonald, Jesse James, Kevin Rader, Bucky Hodges, Christian Scotland-Williamson, Jake McGee. Kendall Blanton
OT: Alejandro Villanueva, Matt Feiler, Chukwuma Okorafor, Jerald Hawkins, Zach Banner, RJ Prince, Chidi Okeke
OG/C: David DeCastro, Maurkice Pouncey, B.J. Finney, Wes Johnson, Keegan Render, Patrick Morris, Jeremy King, Keaton Sutherland
DE: Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Tyson Alualu, Rodney Gunter, Connor Sheery, Rocco Di Leo
NT: Javon Hargrave, Lavon Hooks, Olive Sagapolu
OLB: Bud Dupree, T.J. Watt, Justin Hollins, Anthony Chickillo, Ola Adeniyi, Keion Adams
ILB: Jordan Hicks, Vince Williams, L.J. Fort, Terill Hanks, Tyler Matakevich, Tegray Scales, Robert Spillane, Ryan Shazier (Reserve/PUP), Keith Kelsey
CB: Bradley Roby, Joe Haden, Artie Burns, Mike Hilton, Cam Sutton, David Long, Brian Allen, Coty Sensabaugh, Herb Waters, Kemon Hall
S: Sean Davis, Terrell Edmunds, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Jordan Dangerfield, Marcus Allen, Marcelis Branch, Delvon Randall
K: Chris Boswell, Matt Gay
P: Shane Lechler. Billy Kinney
LS: Kam Canaday
And here’s how the camp depth chart looks.
My cutdowns to the final 53 man roster.
QB: Ben Roethlisberger, Josh Dobbs, Mason Rudolph
RB: James Conner, Jaylen Samuels, Travis Homer
FB: Rosie Nix
WR: JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Hakeem Butler, Ryan Switzer, Terry McLaurin, Geremy Davis
TE: Vance McDonald, Jesse James, Kendall Blanton
OT: Alejandro Villanueva, Matt Feiler, Chukwuma Okorafor, Jerald Hawkins
OG/C: David DeCastro, Maurkice Pouncey, B.J. Finney, Wes Johnson, Patrick Morris
DE: Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Tyson Alualu, Rodney Gunter
NT: Javon Hargrave
OLB: Bud Dupree, T.J. Watt, Justin Hollins, Anthony Chickillo, Ola Adeniyi
ILB: Jordan Hicks, Vince Williams, L.J. Fort, Terill Hanks
CB: Bradley Roby, Joe Haden, Mike Hilton, Cam Sutton, David Long, Herb Waters
S: Sean Davis, Terrell Edmunds, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Jordan Dangerfield, Marcus Allen
K: Chris Boswell
P: Shane Lechler
LS: Kam Canaday
The only two draft picks not to make it are Gay and Render. Morris jumps on as the last linemen while Blanton is the only UDFA to make the 53. The team bails on Bostic, Burns, Matakevich, and Brian Allen while Boswell keeps his job – for now – with an impressive preseason.
And the Week 1 depth chart.
My ten man practice squad:
RB – Ralph Webb
WR – Ka’Ruan White
TE – Bucky Hodges
OG/C – Keegan Render
OT – Chidi Okeke
ILB – Robert Spillane
DL – Connor Sheehy, Olive Sagapolu
CB – Kemon Hall
S – Delvon Randall
And seven, initial gameday inactives.
QB – Josh Dobbs
WR – Terry McLaurin
OG – Patrick Morris
OT – Matt Feiler
EDGE – Justin Hollins
CB – Herb Waters
S – Jordan Dangerfield
The only reason Feiler is down is Hawkins has better left/right tackle versatility and can play tackle eligible more effectively, something the Steelers like to do, especially with a UDFA as the #3 tight end out of the gate.
Thank you all for enduring reading this. Hope you enjoyed watching it unfold as much as I did. It’s not a perfect team, there’s obvious holes (backup NT, #3 TE, safety depth?) but if your teams perfect, you probably cheated your way through it. And that’s no fun.
If you’d like to perform your own offseason simulator, I’ll link the premium modes here. There are separate free versions for the draft and offseason, too. (https://fanspeak.com/ontheclock/premium.php)
I’d love to take a look at what you come up with. Share in the comments below.