Hello, nice to meet you, I’m a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
No, really, I am.
Okay, maybe things haven’t grown quite that dire yet, but it is pretty remarkable how much the face of this 53-man roster has changed since the beginning of the season. Chiefly through injuries, a large portion of the roster has had to be reshaped, sometimes dramatically in certain areas. Let’s take it position by position, wrapping up with the defense. Special teams has remained the same.
Opening Day (6): Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Javon Hargrave, Tyson Alualu, Daniel McCullers, Isaiah Buggs
Current (5): Cameron Heyward, Javon Hargrave, Tyson Alualu, Daniel McCullers, Isaiah Buggs
While on paper it looks at though there was a mere one reduction, Stephon Tuitt was initially replaced on the 53-man roster by veteran L.T. Walton. Walton last week suffered a season-ending injury himself, however, so for the first time that I can recall, the Steelers are going with just five defensive linemen now, with two on the Reserve/Injured List. The team has five defensive players on the Reserve/Injured List in total, including Lavon Hooks.
Opening Day (4): T.J. Watt, Bud Dupree, Anthony Chickillo, Olasunkanmi Adeniyi
Current (5): T.J. Watt, Bud Dupree, Anthony Chickillo, Olasunkanmi Adeniyi, Tuzar Skipper
Though not substantial, as the top four has (almost) always remained constant, the outside linebacker position has probably experienced the most transactions this year because of Jayrone Elliott being bounced back and forth. Anthony Chickillo was briefly on the Commissioner’s Exempt List as well. Tuzar Skipper was on the initial 53-man roster, but not the opening-day roster. He was re-signed off of the New York Giants’ practice squad earlier this week, days after Elliott was waived once again.
Opening Day (5): Devin Bush, Vince Williams, Mark Barron, Tyler Matakevich, Ulysees Gilbert III
Current (5): Devin Bush, Vince Williams, Mark Barron, Tyler Matakevich, Robert Spillane
The inside linebacker position has remained largely static, with no changes to the top four names, but rookie Ulysees Gilbert III was a primary special teams player prior to his season-ending injury. The team called up Spillane, who had a good preseason, from the practice squad to take his place once he was moved to the Reserve/Injured List.
Opening Day (6): Joe Haden, Steven Nelson, Mike Hilton, Cameron Sutton, Artie Burns, Justin Layne
Current (6): Joe Haden, Steven Nelson, Mike Hilton, Cameron Sutton, Artie Burns, Justin Layne
Notably, the cornerback is the only position on the entire 53-man roster that has experienced no change at any point in the season. All six cornerbacks who began the year on the roster have remained there the entire time, with no additions.
Opening Day (4): Sean Davis, Terrell Edmunds, Kameron Kelly, Jordan Dangerfield
Current (4): Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Kameron Kelly, Jordan Dangerfield
The safety position was the target of arguably the single biggest mid-season change in team history when the Steelers acquired Miami Dolphins starter Minkah Fitzpatrick for a first-round pick. He was a plug-and-play starter and is now going to be a Pro Bowler, while Sean Davis is on the Reserve/Injured List.