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Keep, Keep, Cut: Final Two Roster Spots

You’re going to build the roster.

If you’re like me you’d love the chance to be a General Manager. We all have our opinions on players throughout the draft process and throughout the season of who we would prefer to have on the team or active roster. I thought this might be a fun process to look at a group of players give some background information on each player and see who you would keep. And yes, I understand you want to see how everyone does in training camp.

I’ll give you three players from each position group and you decide which two you will keep (one to the active roster, one to the practice squad) and one player to cut. At the end of this process we’ll have a 53 man roster and a good portion of the practice squad built by you.

Final Two Roster Spots

We have gone through all the position groups except for the specialists so now you are going to choose from those we have placed on the practice squad to fill the final two roster spots.  I will give you three choices of those who would likely have a shot to be on the final 53 and were going to put the top two on the roster with the other reverting back to the practice squad. You can let me know in the comments if there are others you would rather have and the majority wins.

Isaiah BuggsEntering year three in the NFL, Buggs has progressed in is two seasons and set modest career highs across the board. He appeared in 10 games with one start (vs Dallas) and on the season he totaled 11 tackles and one quarterback hit. The defensive charting from Alex Kozora shows he lined up all along the line from the left end to the right end.

On the positive side, he has the versatility to play up and down the defensive line and is currently listed as the backup nose tackle. He looks to be playing with more aggressiveness and was disruptive in the all of the preseason games. He is possibly the most talented of the young backups from last year’s roster. If Stephon Tuitt is out, this may be a necessity.

Best game in 2020 Week 8 vs Baltimore – 34 defensive snaps, 5 total tackles, 3 solo, 1 QB hit

On the negative side, he struggled last year to get a helmet on game day in a battle with Carlos Davis. He was only active for 3 games over the final 8 games. Just 206 snaps in two seasons with 14 total tackles and zero sacks.

Worst game in 2020 Week 13 vs Washington – Just three defensive snaps, inactive for 3 weeks

Jamir Jones – Jones is young player who was signed in April after a workout during Notre Dame’s 2021 Pro Day. He played his college ball at Notre Dame as a defensive end and had one year of solid production. He went undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft and signed with Houston but did not make the team.

On the positive side, he has flashed throughout the preseason games and leads the team in quarterback hits and special team tackles. Jones has shown strength to set the edge and good motor to get after the ball. He showed up and made plays in every preseason game. He didn’t play a lot in college but did excel on special teams

On the negative side, he is relatively unknown starting just four games at Notre Dame. He is raw and unrefined as a pass rusher lacking a go to move. He couldn’t make the roster of pretty bad team in Houston. He’s had good production in preseason but against 2nd and 3rd team players.

Buddy Johnson – The Steelers spent a fourth round pick in the 2021 draft to add the Texas A&M linebacker. He finished his career with 209 tackles and 23.5 tackles for a loss. He tested high athletically, is a sure tackler, is technical run defender and plays with a downhill mentality

On the positive side, questions of his special team play may have been answered in the final preseason game with two tackles.  He is listed on the depth chart as a MACK linebacker and has the ability to play either spot. He is serviceable in coverage and handle running backs fairly well. With a possible injury to Marcus Allen he may be needed.

On the negative side, he’s a rookie and you don’t want to rely on him right away to be a primary backup. Especially, how other teams expose the Steelers linebackers in the passing game. In the first two preseason games he has only one tackle in 40 defensive snaps.

The other player that I thought could be on this list from the practice squad listed below is Kalen Ballage.  Considering the load that Najee Harris will carry and Ballage having a similar skill set to Benny Snell I left him off.

The choice is yours. I will tally up the comments and also do a poll on Twitter to get the results. The results of each position group will be listed below going forward until you have a complete roster.

Previous Selections

53 Man Roster – (49 of 53)

  • QB (3) – Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Dwayne Haskins
  • RB (3) – Najee Harris, Anthony McFarland, Benny Snell Jr
  • FB (1)– Derek Watt
  • WR (5) – Juju Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, James Washington, Ray-Ray McCloud
  • TE (3) – Eric Ebron, Pat Freiermuth, Zach Gentry
  • IOL (5) – Kevin Dotson, Trai Turner, Kendrick Green, Rashad Coward, B.J. Finney
  • OT (4) – Chukwuma Okorafor, Zach Banner, Dan Moore, Joe Haeg
  • DL (6) – Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Tyson Alualu, Chris Wormley, Isaiahh Loudermilk, Carlos Davis
  • OLB (4) – T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Melvin Ingram, Quincy Roche
  • ILB (4) – Devin Bush, Joe Schobert, Robert Spillane, Marcus Allen
  • CB (6) – Joe Haden, Cameron Sutton, James Pierre, Antoine Brooks, Justin Layne, Arthur Maulet
  • S (4) – Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Miles Killebrew, Tre Norwood
  • K (1) – Chris Boswell

Practice Squad (11)

  • QB – Joshua Dobbs, RB Kalen Ballage, WR Isaiah McKoy, TE Kevin Rader, IOL J.C. Hassenauer, OL Aviante Collins, DL Isaiah Buggs, OLB Jamir Jones, ILB Buddy Johnson, DB Shakur Brown, S Donovan Stiner
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