Notable Steelers Keeps/Cuts Analysis From Saturday

The Pittsburgh Steelers trimmed their active roster down to 53 players on Saturday and the cut-down list included a few notable player. A few players the team decided to keep on their initial 53-man roster were also a bit of a surprise. Below is a look at the notable Steelers cuts and keeps from Saturday.

Notable Cuts

WR Ryan Switzer – Switzer’s friendship with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t enough for the former fourth-round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys to retain his spot on the 53-man roster. Switzer, who ended the 2019 season on the Steelers Reserve/Injured list with a back injury, never flourished in Pittsburgh as a pass catcher or as a returner. The Steelers acquired Switzer from the Oakland Raiders just ahead of the 2018 regular season getting underway. Switzer seemingly lost his roster spot to wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud, who was added to the roster after training camp got underway.

DT Daniel McCullers – McCullers, who was originally selected by the Steelers in the sixth-round of the 2014 NFL Draft, has finally had his time in Pittsburgh come to an end. McCullers logged just 605 total defensive snaps in his six seasons with the Steelers and he was scheduled to earn $1.5 million in 2020 as well. McCullers seemingly lost his roster spot this year to rookie defensive tackle Carlos Davis, the team’s seventh-round draft pick thus year.

WR Deon Cain – While not a huge surprise, Cain, who ended the 2019 season on the Steelers 53-man roster, was part of the Saturday cuts. Several had Cain ticketed to make the 53-man roster this year as a sixth wide receiver. The Steelers wound up keeping just five wide receivers on their initial 53-man roster, however, so Cain and Switzer were out, and McCloud was in.

OLB Tuzar Skipper – We knew Skipper was out Friday night, but it was made official on Saturday. At this same time last year, Skipper, a former undrafted free agent, made the Steelers initial 53-man roster only to be waived a few days later and ultimately wind up with the New York Giants. Skipper, however, wound up back on the Steelers 53-man roster late last season and ultimately signed a two-year contract with the team this past offseason. Skipper must have had a lousy training camp as he was essentially the team’s darling last year during the preseason. We’ll now see if Skipper winds up on the practice squad as the team only kept four outside linebackers in total on Saturday.

Notable Keeps

C/G J.C. Hassenauer – The fact that Hassenauer made the initial 53-man roster might be the biggest surprise of all on Saturday and him doing so might be injury related. Guard David DeCastro and center/guard Stefen Wisniewski both being sidelined late in training camp is probably why Hassenauer was kept as a ninth offensive on the 53. It’s now going to be interesting to see if Hassenauer dresses in Week 1 and due to injuries. In case you forgot, Hassenauer was on the Steelers practice squad late last season and then promoted to the 53-man roster for the regular season finale after center Maurkice Pouncey injured his knee in Week 16.

CB James Pierre – One of the Steelers 10 original rookie undrafted free agent signed this year; Pierre obviously had a great training camp. He seemingly had the football in his hands quite a bit judging by practice pictures on the team’s website. The Steelers kept six cornerbacks in total so Pierre’s unlikely to see action on defense barring injuries. Even so, he could be a special teams asset as a rookie if he dresses for games. We’ll have to wait and see if he gets a helmet Monday night in the Week 1 road opener.

WR Ray-Ray McCloud – McCloud joined the Steelers after training camp got underway and obviously did enough to make the initial 53-man roster. He can return both punts and kickoffs and thus that figures to be his role right out of the chute. McCloud does have a history of fumbling, however, so he better keep ahold of the football if he wants to stay on the 53-man roster all season. The Steelers return game has been lousy for several seasons in a row now so hopefully he can turn that around.

DT Carlos Davis – This year’s seventh-round selection made the 53-man roster out of training camp and that’s quite surprising with there not being much buzz about him these last several weeks. Even so, Davis obviously did enough to make McCullers and his $1.5 million salary expendable and that’s the long and short of it. Will Davis start the regular season as the backup to Tyson Alualu at nose tackle? We’ll wait and see as the Steelers usually dress just five defensive linemen for games. With up to 48 players now being allowed to dress for games this season, the Steelers could choose to have all six in uniform right out of the chute.

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