The Pittsburgh Steelers have now named their four protected practice squad players for Week 10 and the list once again includes three players familiar to it and one new one, a tight end.
The Tuesday list of Steelers protected practice players for Week 10 includes wide receiver Deon Cain, running back Wendell Smallwood, rookie safety Antoine Brooks Jr., the team’s sixth-round draft pick this year out of Maryland, and tight end Kevin Rader.
Cain and Brooks have both elevated to the Steelers Active/Inactive roster this season. Brooks was elevated his second and final time this past Saturday for the Sunday game against the Dallas Cowboys. He was also elevated the week prior for the game against the Baltimore Ravens. As for Smallwood, who has been protected several times already this season, he has yet to be elevated to the Steelers Active/Inactive roster.
The Steelers protecting Rader this week isn’t a big surprise with the team placing tight end Vance McDonald on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday. McDonald will miss Sunday’s home game against the Cincinnati Bengals and that leaves the team one experienced tight end on their roster in Eric Ebron. Second-year tight end Zach Gentry is also curretly on the 53-man roster but he’s yet to dress for a game this season. That could change on Sunday against the Bengals with McDonald now out.
It will now be interesting to see if Rader is elevated to the Active/Inactive roster on Saturday. He’s the better blocking tight end between Gentry and himself and likely the better special teams player to boot. Rader has been a fixture on the Steelers practice squad all season.