I am March Madness. I am Opening Day. I am the NBA playoffs.
I am sports.
And for that, I am sorry.
But you’re stuck with me. This is as close to “sports” as we’re gonna get for the foreseeable future.
This is my Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 mock offseason. Where I kick Kevin Colbert out of his chair and run the show. If you’re unfamiliar, we use Fanspeak’s tools to mock an entire free agency and draft. I’ll have links to their program at the end of this article. Here’s a synopsis of what we’ll do this offseason.
– Pre-free agency, signing, tagging (what will we do with Bud Dupree?), and re-signing our own
– Free agency, plugging the holes in our roster
– NFL Draft (Fanspeak lets us make trades, which is good, because this team only has six picks and I suspect that won’t be enough)
– “Signing” UDFAs (the sim doesn’t let us do this, I’ll just list names to round out our 90 man roster)
– Adding rookie tryouts and constructing a complete, 55 man rookie minicamp roster
– Creating a training camp depth chart
– Whittling the roster down to 53 players
– Making a Week 1 depth chart
The rule for this exercise is that I get one shot. There’s no do-overs. If I screw up, I just gotta roll with the punches. And trust me, if you’ve read past versions, you know I’m the king of screwing these up. But that’s the fun in it. It’s not meant to be perfect or ideal. Let’s see where 2020 takes us.
As always, we have to take a look at our cap sp-
That’s not good. We’re beginning in the negatives. I owe money. We’re going to have to dig deep and hand out some pink slips. Those getting the ax?
OLB Anthony Chickillo
OG Ramon Foster
ILB Mark Barron
WR Ryan Switzer
Chickillo and Barron are basically no-brainers to me and while Switzer doesn’t move the needle significantly, every little bit helps. Getting rid of Foster hurts and is a massive locker room loss but the NFL is a business. Gotta make hard decisions. We do hold onto Vance McDonald.
To be able to franchise tag Bud Dupree, we’re going to have to hammer out a couple restructures, too. Curiously, the sim doesn’t let us re-do Ben’s contract so instead, we turn to Stephon Tuitt and David DeCastro.
In told, we clear up enough space to tag Dupree without needing to take a loan out from the bank.
Is there anyone to re-sign? The sim has seemed to have forgotten about Tyler Matakevich and Nick Vannett so sadly, we’re going to have to pretend those guys simply hit free agency. Not bringing back Dirty Red hurts my heart, not to mention our special teams.
I debate if I should throw an offer BJ Finney’s way. A low-ball, “we can tell the media we negotiated deal” as he looks for a big payday on the market. A lowly, 2 year, $6 million deal with $1.8 mil of it guaranteed.
To my surprise, no, my shock, he accepts.
He’s always been a Steelers’ fan so I suppose he was interested in taking a deep discount or just felt his market wasn’t going to be strong enough to even try and test. Either way, we’ll take it as a happy victory that certainly takes some of the pressure off in trying to address the interior offensive line. Still work to do there though.
And that’s all the moves we’re going to make. Not re-signing Sean Davis, certainly not bringing back Artie Burns, and Javon Hargrave is simply to expensive to even dream about. So long partner. We’ll save the rest of our money to cobble together whatever we can in free agency. Here’s our pre-free agency roster:
QB: Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Devlin Hodges, Paxton Lynch
RB: James Conner, Benny Snell, Jaylen Samuels, Kerrith Whyte Jr., Trey Edmunds
FB: Roosevelt Nix
WR: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, James Washington, Deon Cain, Johnny Holton, Amara Darboh, Quadree Henderson
TE: Vance McDonald, Zach Gentry, Christian Scotland-Williamson
OT: Alejandro Villanueva, Chukwuma Okorafor, Matt Feiler, Zach Banner
OG: David DeCastro
C: Maurkice Pouncey, BJ Finney, JC Hassenauer
DE: Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Tyson Alualu, Isaiah Buggs
NT: Daniel McCullers
OLB: TJ Watt, Bud Dupree, Ola Adeniyi, Tuzar Skipper
ILB: Devin Bush, Vince Williams, Ulysees Gilbert III, Robert Spillane, Ryan Shazier (Reserve/PUP)
CB: Joe Haden, Steven Nelson, Mike Hilton, Cam Sutton, Justin Layne
S: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Marcus Allen
K: Chris Boswell
P: Jordan Berry
LS: Kameron Canaday
Speaking of money, let’s check out how much we’re left with…
A little over $13 million? We can live with that. So let’s get to work.
If you’re wondering, here are the top free agents available.
Just a heads up – that’s as close as we’ll come to signing any of those names.
Safety is such an underrated need for this squad. Entrusting a rookie to come in and one injury away from logging 1000 snaps is asking for the moon. My first mission is to look for a veteran safety. One who’s relatively cheap and can offer some crucial flexibility. I consider the Bears’ Deon Bush but set my sights a little higher to begin. I extend a two year offer to the Vikings’ Jayron Kearse, who the team brought in for a pre-draft visit back in 2016. He’s versatile, able to play in the slot and traditional safety, whose carved out a role after being a longshot 7th round pick.
The offer? 2 years, $5.8 million with 30% guaranteed, amounting to $1.68 million.
Another position to try and address off the bat? Nose tackle. With Hargrave’s loss, there’s a massive void. Daniel McCullers certainly isn’t going to be my nose tackle of the future even if Pittsburgh seems hellbent on keeping him until 2046.
So we go after the Lions’ A’Shawn Robinson. Cheap, youthful run defense. At least, I think that’s what his market will be. We extend a 3 year, $6.6 million deal with a little over $1.5 mil of that guaranteed. A pretty low offer, sure, but I’m dipping my toe in the water to get his initial reaction.
I consider making an offer to a tight end but wait for the moment, letting the first day play out. Wide receiver is the same and unfortunately, the free agent market is thinner than any toilet paper you can currently buy. Let’s conclude Day One and see what Kearse and Robinson have to say.
Welp, Robinson had a lot to say. A big ‘ol middle finger my way as he absolutely breaks the bank with the Los Angeles Chargers. He has more money than they have fans but hey, I definitely couldn’t compete with that kind of cash. Good to know early.
Kearse also declines and I go 0/2 for the day. Let’s see what the rest of the NFL did.
Javon Hargrave finds a new home, heading out west to Seattle. Cheaper deal than I expected, 5 years for $29.5 million but still too pricey for the cap situation we’re in. Jameis Winston becomes the Colts new starter, Melvin Gordon takes his talents to South Beach, and Arik Armstead gets paid by Detroit.
Around the AFC North, Cincinnati signs DJ Reader to replace Andrew Billings, Baltimore signed former Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith, and Cleveland re-ups with Damarious Randall on a $40 million contract. Rest of the division making noise as we dig through the couch cushions.
So Robinson is off the table. With how lucrative of a deal he got, I have to look for a much less impressive resume. Turning my attention to the Bucs’ Beau Allen, who served in a backup, bit role last season but had success with the Eagles and at worst, should be my backup nose tackle. Here’s the offer I send his agent:
2 years/$4.6 million, $1.38 mil guaranteed
Now we circle back to Kearse and bump up our initial deal. 3 years/$9.45 million, and $3.3 million guaranteed. Longer contract, little bit more money, coming out to just over $3 million per year.
Before we wrap up the day, we make two more offers. The first is to address our still relatively weak offensive line depth. A simple one year, $1 million deal to the Cardinals’ guard/center Max Garcia, a former two-year starter in Denver who had his career derailed by a 2018 torn ACL. This is a Steelers a deal as there ever was and you’d think Garcia is just looking for an opportunity to make a team. Feel good about the odds he accepts.
One last thing. I want to get serious about the Steelers’ kick return game. It’s been bad, terrible really, for three years. With different schemes, blockers, return men all tried, it’s time to find the best talent possible and hope that’s enough to get this unit to at least average, depressing as it is to aim for. So why not go after the dude who has the second highest KR average in NFL history? That’s Cordarrelle Patterson, trailing only Gale Sayers with his 29.9 career average. He’s still somehow only 29 years old despite being in the league for what feels like forever and he’s become something of a gadget receiver/runner/returner. He’s a big dude too, listed at 238, and the Steelers like size with their return men and running backs. So he fits well.
My offer? 2 years/$5 million with 25% of it fully guaranteed.
So there are the Day Two offers: Allen, Kearse, Garcia, and Patterson. Hoping for better news than the first time I clicked this button.
I’ll take it. Patterson and Kearse come on board, which feels like as much victory as we’re going to get this free agency, while Garcia and Allen turn me down. But we’re on the board with a couple new names to the docket.
$8.7 million of cap space left.
I go back at Allen and Garcia, really want to add them to secure some veteran trench depth, with increased offers.
Allen: 2 years/$4.6 million, $1.38 mil guaranteed
Garcia: 1 year/$1.375 million, $137k guaranteed
Not major bumps in pay, I know, but this is still low-level depth and I can’t risk overpaying.
I also take a serious look at the tight end market too. Remember, Vannett has disappeared into the void, leaving us with Vance McDonald and Zach Gentry. Pittsburgh is all about blocking and I’m looking for a #2 tight end so I go after the best blocker on the board – Buffalo’s Lee Smith. He kicked the Steelers’ butt in their matchup last season and now I want him on my side. Sending out a two year, $2.6 million offer with nearly half guaranteed – I’m confident he’ll make the roster so not worried about doing so – and hope to entice him away from the Bills.
Let’s end the day and see what we end up with.
Smith accepts, our third signing, while Allen and Garcia continue to play hardball. Good news is we’re checking boxes left and right: safety, return game help, and now another tight end.
We only lose about a million in total cap space.
Switching tactics, I look at the same positions I’d love to address, offensive line and nose tackle, with different solutions. Along the o-line, I give a call to Evan Boehm, who did well enough as a center/guard with Miami in 2019. Ditto with NT Kyle Love, a plugger who can be a strong backup or fill-in starter, depending on how the draft goes. My deals for both:
Boehm: 1 year/$2.4 million, $800k signing bonus
Love: 2 years/$3.5 million, $700K signing bonus
Oh-for-two. And by the way, Garcia signs for way too much money. Good luck, Jets. Think you’ll need it. Maybe don’t let Adam Gase run the show.
Another offer Love’s way. Topping the last.
Love: 2 years/$4.9 million, $1.71 mil signing bonus
And I don’t even offer Boehm, letting things cool off before pushing another contract his way.
Love – again – shoots me down while Boehm seems to have wanted a longer term deal, taking less per year but inking a three year pact with the Green Bay Packers.
At this point, I’m basically out of moves. There aren’t really any other names for me to target and, learning from past mistakes, I don’t want to keep offering incrementally better deals to Love until I get mad and throw like, $7 million per year at him.
I send a “u up?” text to Beau Allen, who we looked at early on in the process, with one last heave. One year, $2.35 million with just under a million guaranteed.
Predictably, Allen declines and I give up. I think this is as good as it’s going to get. I sim through the next few days of free agency, nothing else happens (except for Manny Sanders signing a deal on the final day, day 10, with the Bengals) and we’re done with this segment of the offseason.
Here are the three signings I made from most to least expensive.
Jayrone Kearse/S: 3 years, 9.45 million, $3.3 mil signing bonus
Cordarelle Patterson/KR: 2 years, 5 million, $1.25 mil signing bonus
Lee Smith/TE: 2 years, 2.6 mil $1.04 mil signing bonus
Our final cap space? Over $7.5 million, a comfortable number for the rainy day fund once the season begins.
We come into the draft with still a ton of needs. EDGE, nose tackle, interior offensive line, tight end, and heck, throw in a wide receiver and an inside linebacker. It’s so crowded it violates CDC recommendations.
Here are our picks.
Six picks and uh, a lot more holes to fill than that. We have some tough decisions ahead.
For this draft, I choose Matt Miller’s Big Board, it’s current and has the most names, and draft on the “difficulty” setting, which Fanspeak tells me is supposed to “tighten up” the draft algorithm and make trading harder to do. Not sure I believe that but that’s what we’re rolling with.
We sit out the first round, watching all the top talent fly off the board. Simply don’t have the ammo to even dream about trading up. Here’s how the top ten picks look.
With our old 18th pick, the Miami Dolphins get an absolute steal and take Ohio State corner Jeff Okudah. So they probably feel better about giving up Minkah Fitzpatrick.
No tight ends or running backs get selected in the top 32. Something to keep in mind. Day One is in the books so let’s get to Day Two, where we’re slated to begin our draft.
Round Two: Again, little interest and no ability to try to move up. Let the chips fall where they may until the league gives us the green light at #49. The board does not look great. I was considering taking TE Cole Kmet if he fell but the Falcons steal him two picks ahead. Of those there, at the top sits Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor, who I’m betting ESPN (or TikTok, whoever actually ends up hosting it six weeks from now) assumes we’re taking him. Steelers’ Nation is going nuts, a flurry of tweets over how he HAS to be the guy. Here’s how the big board looks.
Not so fast. There’s simply too many holes on the roster and six picks aren’t enough to do it. So I get on the phone and start calling around, looking to fall back and pick up another Day Two pick. My goal is to trade down no more than ten spots, staying ahead of Baltimore at #60.
First call is to Minnesota, Mike Tomlin’s old stomping grounds, at #58. The proposal.
Steelers send: #49
Vikings send: #58, #89
Submit it and they quickly decline. Let’s try again with Seattle at #59.
Bumping down from #89 here but I like getting #101 because we have #102, giving us consecutive picks at the back end of the third round. Good note to go out on. Alas, they reject me too.
Calling back Minnesota goes nowhere (offered #49 for #58 and #105) and a convo with Green Bay (#49 for #62 and #94) go nowhere in a hurry. Will we ever get a deal done? If there was a time to trade out, it’s now, when you can actually get something for your draft capital. And the clock is ticking.
Maybe I shouldn’t have set it to “difficult.”
One last attempt with Seattle. Here’s the offer. Had to get a little creative.
Steelers send: #49, #124
Seahawks send: #64, #101, #144
Idea is to move down 15 spots now to the last pick of the second round, bump down 20 spots in the fourth, to pick up a late third and again, have #101 and #102.
We have a deal. After I was done, I looked up who won according to the trade value chart:
High score wins so I think Seattle got the best of me here. Just knew it was important to have more than six selections in this draft.
So now we’re back to waiting. I have an idea of the direction I want to go position-wise. That is, if the board holds.
Here comes #64…
And my #1 target, Missouri nose tackle Jordan Elliott comes off the board one pick ahead of me to Kansas City. Of course he does. I get a couple trade offers and the Rams send an interesting one (the Lions’ offer is hot garbage, I know).
LA would give me #101, #102, and #104. But I can’t justify moving back again and waiting until literally outside the Top 100 for my first selection. Time to turn in a card.
The top four I consider are…
Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor – who’s still here, somehow
Oklahoma DT Neville Gallimore – been high on him since before the Senior Bowl
Texas A&M DT Justin Madiubuke – underclassmen, one-gapper with shades of Hargrave
Dayton TE Adam Trautman – my top TE on the board
My decision? I go with Texas A&M’s Justin Madiubuke. A little out of left field, I know, especially over Gallimore but he can be the Hargrave clone. Underclassmen, productive (22 TFL, 11 sacks the last two years) and a terrific athlete (4.83 40). He’s a little light at 293 pounds but can add ten pounds and has great length at 33 1/2 inches. He’s our guy.
Yes, it’s a defensive player, the ninth year in a row that was the team’s first selection, but I hate the notion of waiting on a nose tackle after not getting one in free agency. Gotta stop the run to win in the AFC North. It’s a division consisting of Lamar Jackson and the Ravens’ staunch run game, the Bengals’ Joe Mixon, and the Browns’ Nick Chubb. You better have a front seven to stop the run and that begins with a nose tackle.
Round Three: Unfortunately, we’re going to be waiting awhile for our next pick. #101 and #102. No lie, that makes me nervous. Top tight ends, Trautman and Purdue’s Brycen Hopkins, might be off the board. I consider this deal with the Rams mid-way through the round. They called us earlier, now I’m giving Les Snead and Sean McVay a ring.
Steelers send: #101, #144, 2021 4th
Rams send: #84
I contemplate the decision for awhile and decide against, not wanting to give up picks. That’s the reason I traded back in the first place. So I wait on.
It’s #87. The Patriots are on board. You just know they’re taking Trautman. Game over.
They passed! Select QB Jake Fromm instead. A draft miracle.
I hope that’s a sign and don’t make another move to trade back up. Wait for #101 and get my back-to-back picks. Here’s the board I’m considering as my pick approaches.
TE Adam Trautman
TE Brycen Hopkins
OLB Curtis Weaver
WR Van Jefferson
It’s pick 101. We’re on the clock.
And oh boy, things don’t look good. My entire board is gone. All the names I was considering. Trautman is drafted, taken by Green Bay, and those evil Patriots snatched away my backup plan Hopkins three spots ahead at 98. WR Van Jefferson? Off the board. OLB Curtis Weaver? Cya.
I’m regretting a lot of things.
So what do we do? Time for a new plan but we have some options. Interior offensive line is still a big need. Nearly decide on Temple’s Matt Hennessy but pivot to a new name, honing in on Wisconsin’s Tyler Biadasz at #101. Underclassmen with tons of experience, 41 career starts at center, was this year’s Rimington Award Winner for college football’s top center, and oh yeah, grew up on a farm, which you love for a hog mollie and is giving me serious James Washington vibes. He’s the pick at 101.
And we’re back on the clock at 102. Tight end is looking sparse. If we don’t take one now, we’re probably not taking one at all. Best on the board is Missouri’s Albert Okwuegbunam, who ran a blazing 4.49 and had excellent production before Drew Lock left school after 2018. Can’t say I love the pick but there’s upside here and he has the size to be an in-line blocker the Steelers need, coming in at 6’5/4, 258 with long, 34 1/8 inch arms. He’s the guy at #102. My only regret is now learning to spell his last name. Still can’t do it.
Round Four: Two picks here, #135 and #144. Don’t have much interest in trading up or back. Board isn’t strong enough to justify a move up but there’s still talent and issues on the roster I want to try and correct. I’m eyeing Tennessee’s Darrell Taylor at 135 but as has become a nasty habit in this class, he’s nabbed a couple spots ahead.
The remaining good option still there is South Carolina’s DJ Wonnum. Has the size and length the team prioritizes, 6’4/5, 258 pounds with over 34 inch vines. Dupree is still on the franchise tag and far from guaranteed to be around past 2020 and it’s impossible to assume Ola Adeniyi and/or Tuzar Skipper will step into that role. Same can be said for a 4th round rookie like Wonnum but it’ll create options and competition if Dupree is elsewhere a year from now.
For Wonnum, I like his experience (30 starts), leadership, named permanent team captain since his sophomore season, which is particularly impressive, and overall upside.
Fast forward to #144. Now that I’ve acquired some draft picks, I want to focus on talent. And no one’s more talented than App State’s Akeem Davis-Gaither, who had a fantastic Senior Bowl week. Undersized but super athlete, instinctive, and productive. He’ll bolster ILB depth after releasing Mark Barron and Tyler Matakevich’s disappearance and really give us a strong group there.
Round Five: We don’t have a 5th round pick.
Or do we?
Not right now but I want to jump back into the round and address one spot I’ve yet to invest in. Wide receiver. The board doesn’t look great but I want to go after SMU’s James Proche, a tough slot receiver with good production. I let the 5th round begin, wait about 15 picks, and call up Chicago with an offer.
Steelers send: 2021 4th round pick
Bears send: #163
They happily accept, kicking the can a year to get a higher pick for next season. I don’t think I’ll get a comp pick in 2021, Hargrave’s contract wasn’t as massive as I expected and Kearse probably cancels him out, but it’s worth being aggressive with our tight, two-year Super Bowl window.
Quickly make the decision on Proche to give us another receiver.
Round Six: No more trades. Time to roll through these final two picks. We’re at #198. Getting a Jayron Kearse clone with Cal safety Jaylinn Hawkins. Not the world’s best athlete but football junkie with 38 starts and ball skills. Picked off nine passes the last two years. Credit his high school background, a star receiver. Caught 80 balls as a senior in HS.
With Hawkins and Kearse, we’ve totally changed the outlook of our safety depth in a matter of months.
Round Seven: One last pick at #232. We’ve been able to address essentially every position we need to. So now we can take a flier. Rolling with Wake Forest CB Essang Bassey, an undersized but rocked up corner who tested well at Indy (4.46 40, 39.5 inch vertical, 10’8″ broad). Corner is a little thin with Mike Hilton and Cam Sutton not signed beyond 2020 and Burns’ departure leaving a potential open #6 CB spot. Maybe he makes the roster, maybe he lands on the practice squad. Either works.
By the way, this year’s Mr. Irrelevant was Washington State QB Anthony Gordon, selected by the New York Giants.
Here are our draft picks. Went from six to eight selections, a much-needed boost to draft capital.
#62 – Justin Madiubuke/DL Texas A&M
#101 – Tyler Biadasz/C Wisconsin
#102 – Albert Okwuegbunam/TE Missouri
#135 – DJ Wonnum/EDGE South Carolina
#144 – Akeem Davis-Gaither/ILB App State
#163 – James Proche/WR SMU
#198 – Jaylinn Hawkins/S Cal
#232 – Essang Bassey/CB Wake Forest
Fans will misspell the names of this class at truly record-breaking Yinzer levels.
And our two trades:
Steelers trade: #49 (2nd), #124 (4th)
Seahawks trade: #64 (2nd), #101 (3rd), #144 (4th)
Steelers trade: 2021 4th
Bears trade: #163 (5th)
With the pre-free agency roster, the three vets we signed, and our eight draft picks, we’re up to 73 players on our 90 man roster (Shazier on PUP doesn’t count). So we’ll add 17 UDFAs to our roster plus a host of tryout players, 16 in all, to give us a 55 man, rookie minicamp squad.
Mark Williamson/OL William & Mary
Kevin Feder/OT Kansas
Alex Kinney/P Colorado
Blanton Creque/K Louisville
Keegan Firth/LS Oregon St
Matt Womack/OT Alabama
Jack Kramer/C Bowling Green
Travion Banks/CB Miami (OH)
Matthew Gonzalez/TE-FB Robert Morris
Jonathan Wilson/DE Memphis
Kendall Coleman/OLB Syracuse
JuJu Hughes/S Fresno State
Bravion Roy/NT Baylor
Vincent Calhoun/S Eastern Michigan
Zack Johnson/OT-OG North Dakota State
Kendall Parham/WR UAB
Jeff George Jr/QB Pittsburgh (tryout)
AJ Hines/RB Duquesne (tryout)
Spencer Nigh/FB Auburn (tryout)
Jeff Cotton/WR Idaho (tryout)
William Atterbury/OG South Florida (tryout)
Cedrick Lattimore/DE Iowa (tryout)
Julian Crutchfield/DE UT-Martin (tryout)
Josiah Hall/OLB Wyoming (tryout)
Saleem Brightwell/ILB Pittsburgh (tryout)
Isaiah Davis/ILB Maryland (tryout)
Cameron Haney/CB Utah State (tryout)
Donte Vaughn/CB Notre Dame (tryout)
Roney Elam/CB Texas A&M (tryout)
Denzel Johnson/S Clemson (tryout)
Nick Bowers/TE Penn State (tryout)
Trey Dishon/NT Kansas State (tryout)
For the tryout players, couple of Pitt guys, an Idaho Vandal (#RollPotatoes), Bowers is from Western PA, and Davis is Sean Davis’ younger brother. Coleman and Roy are arguably the best UDFAs.
Here’s the full rookie minicamp roster:
QB: JT Barrett, Jeff George Jr
RB: Trey Matthews, Ralph Webb, Darrin Hall, AJ Hines
FB: Matthew Gonzalez, Spencer Nigh
TE: Christian Scotland-Williamson, Kevin Rader, Albert Okwuegbunam, Nick Powers
WR: James Proche, Quadree Henderson, Jamal Custis, Kendall Parham, Jeff Cotton
OT: Mark Williamson, Kevin Feder, Matt Womack, Zack Johnson
OG: Derwin Grey, Christian DiLauro, William Atterbury
C: Tyler Biadasz, Jack Kramer, JC Hassenauer
DE: Henry Mondeaux, Jonathan Wilson, Cedric Lattimore, Julian Crutchfield
NT: Justin Madiubuke, Bravion Roy. Trey Dishon
OLB: DJ Wonnum, Kendall Coleman, Cedric Wilcots II, Josiah Hall
ILB: Akeem Davis-Gaither, Saleem Brightwell, Isaiah Davis
CB: Alexander Myres, Essang Bassey, Cameron Haney, Donte Vaughn, Roney Elam
S: John Battle, Jaylinn Hawkins, JuJu Hughes, Vincent Calhoun, Denzel Johnson
K: Blanton Creque
P: Alex Kinney
LS: Keegan Firth
Out of rookie minicamp, we cut JT Barrett– no longer needed with Roethlisberger rehabbed and ready to throw – along with RB Darrin Hall. In their place, we sign Hines, the back from Duquense who set records there, and Haney, a high-character corner who can play there or at safety.
Here’s how the 90 man, Latrobe roster looks.
QB: Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Devlin Hodges, Paxton Lynch
RB: James Conner, Benny Snell, Jaylen Samuels, Kerrith Whyte Jr., Trey Edmunds, Tray Matthews, Ralph Webb, AJ Hines
FB: Roosevelt Nix, Matthew Gonzalez
WR: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, James Washington, Cordarrelle Patterson, Deon Cain, James Proche, Johnny Holton, Amara Darboh, Quadree Henderson, Jamal Custis, Kendall Parham
TE: Vance McDonald, Lee Smith, Zach Gentry, Albert Okwuegbunam Christian Scotland-Williamson, Kevin Rader
OT: Alejandro Villanueva, Chukwuma Okorafor, Matt Feiler, Zach Banner, Matt Womack, Kevin Feder
OG: David DeCastro, BJ Finney, Derwin Grey, Christian DiLauro, Mark Williamson, Zack Johnson
C: Maurkice Pouncey, Tyler Biadasz, JC Hassenauer, Jack Kramer
DE: Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Tyson Alualu, Isaiah Buggs, Henry Mondeaux, Jonathan Wilson
NT: Justin Madiubuke, Daniel McCullers, Bravion Roy
OLB: TJ Watt, Bud Dupree, Ola Adeniyi, DJ Wonnum, Tuzar Skipper, Kendall Coleman
ILB: Devin Bush, Vince Williams, Ulysees Gilbert III, Akeem Davis-Gaither, Robert Spillane, Ryan Shazier (Reserve/PUP)
CB: Joe Haden, Steven Nelson, Mike Hilton, Cam Sutton, Justin Layne, Essang Bassey, Alexander Myres, Travion Banks, Cameron Haney
S: Minakh Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Jayron Kearse, Marcus Allen, Jaylinn Hawkins, John Battle, Vincent Calhoun, JuJu Hughes
K: Chris Boswell, Blanton Creque
P: Jordan Berry, Alex Kinney
LS: Kameron Canaday, Keegan Firth
Along with the summer depth chart.
Here’s your 53 man roster for Week 1.
QB: Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Paxton Lynch
RB: James Conner, Benny Snell, Kerrith Whyte Jr.
FB: Roosevelt Nix
WR: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, James Washington, James Proche, Cordarrelle Patterson, Johnny Holton
TE: Vance McDonald, Lee Smith, Albert Okwuegbunam
OT: Alejandro Villanueva, Chukwuma Okorafor, Zach Banner
OG: David DeCastro, Matt Feiler, BJ Finney
C: Maurkice Pouncey, Tyler Biadasz
DE: Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Tyson Alualu, Isaiah Buggs
NT: Justin Madiubuke, Daniel McCullers
OLB: TJ Watt, Bud Dupree, Ola Adeniyi, DJ Wonnum, Tuzar Skipper
ILB: Devin Bush, Vince Williams, Ulysees Gilbert III, Akeem Davis-Gaither, Robert Spillane
CB: Joe Haden, Steven Nelson, Mike Hilton, Cam Sutton, Justin Layne, Alexander Myres
S: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Jayron Kearse, Jaylinn Hawkins
K: Chris Boswell
P: Jordan Berry
LS: Kameron Canaday
Jaylen Samuels and Deon Cain were the final two players released, if you’re wondering. Bassey was the one draft pick who didn’t make the roster.
Along with your new, per the updated CBA, twelve man practice squad.
RB: Trey Edmunds
WR: Quadree Henderson, Amara Darboh
OT: Matt Womack
OG: Derwin Gray
C: JC Hassenauer
DE: Henry Mondeaux
NT: Bravion Roy
OLB: Kendall Coleman
CB: Essang Bassey, Cameron Haney
S: Vincent Calhoun
Your Week 1 depth chart.
Here are your five inactives per the new CBA.
QB: Paxton Lynch
DE: Tyson Alualu
OLB: Tuzar Skipper
CB: Alexander Myres
S: Jaylinn Hawkins
Sitting Alualu was a difficult decision. But I have to have two nose tackles active on gameday, so McCullers begrudgingly gets the nod, and Buggs could break out in 2020. Injuries can and will change the landscape, of course. 2019 more than taught us that.
Hopefully this exercise brought you some enjoyment or at least, killed some time. Love writing these articles and seeing what I come up with. Pretty happy with the results here. If Okorafor/Banner don’t show up to be the starting right tackle, Feiler can always kick over and Finney step in at LG. So there’s some options which I didn’t think I would end up having. But let me know where I could’ve done better. I’m sure some of the mistakes I made with my offers in free agency and the draft could be critiqued.
Here’s a link to my entire offseason if you want to review the entire thing, including all the draft results, you can right here.
If you want to try your own hand at an offseason simulator, here’s a link to the program I used – Ultimate GM. You do have to sign up and pay for it but there are some free versions too.