The Pittsburgh Steelers are now in Latrobe at Saint Vincent College, where they have held their training camp sessions since 1966. While the vast majority of the legwork of building the 90-man roster is done, there is always some fine tinkering to do. Now it’s time to figure out who is worthy of a roster spot, and what their role will be.
The team made some bold moves this offseason and in some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago. That would especially be the case at wide receiver and inside linebacker, where they’re bound to have new starters.
How will those position groups sort themselves out? How will the young players advance into their expected roles? Will the new coaches be up to the task? Who is looking good in practice? Who is sitting out due to injury?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Who will be released in order to accommodate Minkah Fitzpatrick?
The Steelers have 53 players on their 53-man roster. They reportedly have traded for a 54th player late last night, agreeing to acquire Dolphins defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick and fourth- and seventh-round picks in exchange for first-, fifth-, and sixth-round picks.
Now that they are bringing in another defensive back, who will be moved? Could Anthony Chickillo be put on injured reserve with his foot injury? We don’t yet know the severity of it. The descriptions of other injuries—aside from the obvious, with a move already made—don’t sound long-term enough to justify.
So who are the low men on the totem pole? One option would be Jayrone Elliott, but not with Chickillo injured. They won’t want to have only Olasunkanmi Adeniyi back there behind their two starting outside linebackers.
I think the obvious candidates would be defensive back Kameron Kelly and offensive lineman Fred Johnson. Johnson is the ninth offensive lineman, while Kelly’s role is essentially being replaced by Fitzpatrick, and it sounds as though they have been disappointed with the first-year player’s performance while he has been in-game during the regular season.
One other name they could potentially consider is tight end Zach Gentry, who has remained a healthy scratch even with Roosevelt Nix, the fullback, missing time. At this point, the only way he’ll dress is if there is an injury to a tight end this year, from the looks of it.