First off, we are only seven days away from the start of the regular season. Next week at this time the Cleveland Browns will be heading to Heinz Field to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. How could you not be excited about that? Anyways, the Steelers team that will take the field next week has been determined as they cut ten players yesterday to get down to a 53 man roster. Rather than analyzing the players that got cut, let’s take a look at three players that may have squeaked onto the roster and what type of impact they could have on the Steelers upcoming season.
The Steelers decided to keep Landry Jones as the teams third quarterback. Apparently the Steelers believe they need a third guy in case an injury occurs to Ben Roethlisberger (knocking on wood). A fourth round selection in the 2013 draft out of Oklahoma, Jones has not done much during his time on the Steelers. In his rookie year he never attempted a pass and during preseason this year in three games he threw no touchdowns and one interception. His performance against the Panthers may have given the Steelers some type of hope that maybe Jones still has a future in the league. In the fourth preseason game he completed 14 of 18 throws for 97 yards. He was also sacked three times and fumbled once as the Steelers got shutout. For whatever reason the Steelers felt it would be too soon to give up on the second year quarterback. As far his impact on the 2014 season, it’s pretty safe to say it will be none, other than taking up a roster spot. The chances are very slim that Jones will even take one snap from under center this year.
Unlike Landry Jones, the chances of us seeing Darrius Heyward-Bey on the field at some point this season is much higher. Heyward-Bey made the final cut as the Steelers let go of Derek Moye, presumably handing the final wide receiver spot to Heyward-Bey. The former first round pick of the Raiders hardly made an impact last season with the Colts. Despite not catching a pass in the Steelers first two preseason games, Heyward-Bey played much better against the Eagles and Panthers. In the Eagles game he caught a 33 yard touchdown pass from Bruce Gradkowski in the back of the end zone, showing some decent speed and hands to complete the grab. Against the Panthers he caught six passes on eight targets. The chances of Heyward-Bey making a huge impact on the offense is still pretty small but if Todd Haley can find a way to utilize his speed, it might have been a good idea to hold onto the sixth year pro.
Daniel McCullers, the Steelers sixth round selection, made the final cut earning the giant man a spot on the defensive line. As a rookie it may be difficult to project his impact on the upcoming season considering he will be playing behind a few veterans. Most likely the only way he sees any time on the field would be due to an injury that forces him into the lineup. Whether he plays or not, it seems apparent that the Steelers did not want to let a man of his size walk away. At 6’7″, 352 pounds McCullers certainly has the size to plug up the middle. In the preseason, playing against mostly backup offensive lineman, he recorded four tackles. If McCullers uses this season as almost a red-shirt year while learning from veterans like Cameron Heyward and Brett Keisel, it could greatly benefit his chances of becoming a solid pro in the years to come.
What do you think Steelers Nation? Should they have kept these three players? And are there any other players that just made that cut that you think can make an impact?