Aug 24, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on the sidelines against the Kansas City Chiefs in the first half at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
The end of the 2013 preseason means one thing: final cuts. All 32 teams will trim their rosters from 75 to 53 by 6:00 P.M. (ET) on Saturday, and the final rosters for the 2013 regular season will finally be set when teams put together their eight-man practice squads the following day. With the preseason about to come to an unceremonious end, I thought that I would give my final predictions of how I believe that the Steelers’ 53-man roster and eight-man practice squad will shake out after the final cuts.
Ben Roethlisberger, Bruce Gradkowski, Landry Jones
John Parker Wilson was released this past weekend, so the depth chart is set at three. I just hope that Ben can stay healthy enough so neither backup has to see the field this fall.
Running Backs (4)
Le’Veon Bell, Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman, LaRod Stephens-Howling
Despite his injury, I think that the team will keep Bell on the active roster until his foot heals and save the special “PUP Return” status for someone like Matt Spaeth. Dwyer has been the only back who has been healthy so far, and I believe that his health will earn him the nod over Felix Jones unless LaRod Stephens-Howling is unable to suit up due to his knee. I do think that Pittsburgh will keep Jones over Dwyer though if he performs well during this Thursday’s game.
Unless the rib injury he sustained during the Washington game becomes a problem, Johnson will be the team’s starting and only fullback.
Tight Ends (3)
Heath Miller, David Paulson, David Johnson
I alluded to this in a post from yesterday, but I believe that the Steelers will only carry two healthy tight ends plus Heath Miller at the beginning of the season. Paulson and Johnson, plus some help from Kelvin Beachum, must hold down the fort though before Miller can return. As I mentioned above, I believe that Pittsburgh will give their special “PUP Return” status to Matt Spaeth.
Wide Receiver (6)
Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery, Markus Wheaton, Derek Moye, Reggie Dunn
As it stands, Brown, Sanders, Wheaton, and Cotchery are roster “locks” due to how well they have played during the preseason. Behind them, I think that the Steelers’ coaching staff will try to carry a pass-catcher to balance out the depth chart and help in the red zone like Justin Brown or Derek Moye. I am listing Reggie Dunn as a “wild-card,” and he could do wonders for himself if he can show some promise as a pass-catcher.
Offensive Linemen (8)
Mike Adams, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Marucs Gilbert, Kelvin Beachum, John Malecki, Joe Long
I am sticking with the same group of eight from last week. The starting five are locked in barring an injury, and the versatile Beachum and Malecki should be the top two backups. I think that Joe Long will get the nod over the swinging gate known as Guy Whimper as the eighth and final offensive lineman.