2020 South Side Questions: Who Will Lose Roster Spots When Exemptions Run Out?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.

Even training camp looked much different from the norm, and a big part of that was the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. Their first football game of the year was to be the opener against the New York Giants.

As the season progresses, however, there will be a number of questions that arise on a daily basis, and we will do our best to try to raise attention to them as they come along, in an effort to both point them out and to create discussion

Questions like, how will the players who are in new positions this year going to perform? Will the rookies be able to contribute significantly? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.

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 are the players currently on the 53-man roster most likely to be waived in order to get the roster into compliance after the Steelers’ roster exemptions run out?

The Steelers currently have 54 players on the 53-man roster, and when Maurkice Pouncey gets back, that will make 55. James Conner, just activated from the Reserve/Covid-19 List, has a roster exemption, however, as does Cassius Marsh, who was just signed off of a practice squad. Conner’s will run up before Sunday, but Marsh has to clear a five-day Covid-19 protocol.

The long and short of it is that, eventually, two players currently on the roster will have to be waived. So who are the players on the bottom of the roster right now, given the moves that have been made? The most obvious name, I think, is Jayrone Elliott, since Marsh, who also plays special teams, would slide right into his spot. But what about the other name?

Rookie Antoine Brooks, of course, is one name that you have to consider, since he spent most of the year on the practice squad already. He was only added to the 53-man roster after Bud Dupree was placed on the Reserve/Injured List.

The Steelers have used him on defense, however, and they might want to keep him around, so if not him, what other possibilities are there? The most likely target would be either the defensive or offensive lines. Rookie Carlos Davis was a healthy scratch last time out, as was Derwin Gray. Henry Mondeaux has too well established himself on special teams to be the odd man out at this point.

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