Last night the Steelers wrapped up their preseason with a game against the Carolina Panthers. The game didn’t feature much of the starters, which means that the players battling for a position on the roster got some extra time to make their case. Here are three players that I didn’t think did enough to avoid the Steelers roster cuts.
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Chris Carter, OLB
The Steelers may be especially thin at outside linebacker this year, but that doesn’t mean that a subpar one should make the roster. A few years ago it seemed like Carter had so much upside to become a very good backup, but today he just seems like a player who is being kept for keepings sake. No-one wants to admit that Carter isn’t any good, because that leaves the depth chart even more thin, but it has to be done. The front office finally relieving Carter of his backup duties means a freed up roster spot for Howard Jones. HoJo has been a special teams monster this preseason and also offers considerably more upside than Carter. Paraphrasing what I saw on twitter today from @Steel_By_Design, the team isn’t going to be in a good position if Carter or Jones is starting, so why not keep the guy with a brighter future ahead of him.
Aug 28, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Landry Jones (3) passes against the Carolina Panthers during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Landry Jones, QB
If I were a member of the front office I wouldn’t have any trouble making the call to send Landry packing. That being said, he was a fourth round pick last year which means the team may be hesitant to part ways with him so soon. Putting the mistake of drafting him that high aside, if you look solely at how he has performed in training camp and in preseason games there is no reason for him to make the 53 man roster. There should be a battle between him and Brendon Kay for who makes the practice squad, if they are two of the options for the 10 man group. That’s how bad Jones has performed. If he does end up getting cut it is unlikely that any other team would take an attempt at adding him, so it is very possible that he would end up back in Pittsburgh on the PS.
Daniel McCullers, NT
McCullers would probably be the most difficult among these three to cut. It really isn’t an exaggeration to call him Mount McCullers, as he stands 6’7″ and weighs 352 pounds. His size gives him a massive advantage over the offensive linemen that he goes up against in camp and during preseason games. Should he be asked to play against the starters it would be a whole different story. Anyone who watched the Senior Bowl practices knows that McCullers doesn’t have the technique or repertoire of moves that a good defensive lineman has. He simply survives off of his hugely superior size. Yes, going up against third stringers makes it seem like getting him in the seventh round was a steal. If he were to go up against a halfway decent starting line it would be a whole different story. If he gets cut, I would welcome him back joyfully on the practice squad. It’s unlikely that some other team that’s liked what they’ve seen wouldn’t scoop him up, though.