Steelers: Predicting the 53 man roster V.2


Since my last prediction, injuries and subsequent signings have drastically affected team.  Here is a breakdown, by position, of who should make the final 53 man Steelers roster.

Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick , Landry Jones.

Breakdown: Vick was controversially signed after the Steelers lost second string quarterback Bruce Gradkowski to a broken finger.  His play was one of the few high points against the Bills. Landry may have been granted a reprieve as the only other QB on the roster, besides Ben, who is familiar with the playbook.

Wide Receiver: Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Sammie Coates, Tyler Murphy (Martavis Bryant-suspended)

Breakdown: Martavis Bryant may miss the first four games of the season due to violation of the leagues substance abuse policy.   When the season starts, it will be Brown and Wheaton as the starters with Heyward-Bey and rookie Sammie Coates rotating in and out as the third receiver. Tyler Murphy has done enough to show that he is worthy of sticking around.

Running Backs/Fullback: DeAngelo Williams, Josh Harris, Dri Archer, Will Johnson (Le’Veon Bell-suspended)

Breakdown: Le’Veon Bell will miss the first two games, but DeAngelo Williams has proven to be a talented and capable backup. Dri Archer shows versatility as a running back, wide receiver, and kick return specialist. Josh Harris is a wave player that can be used in relief.

Tight Ends: Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth, Jesse James.

Breakdown: This lineup has been set for a while. One thing that I may add is that Jesse James shows the size, fundamentals, and talent to replace Spaeth as the #2 tight end. Don’t let the rookie mistakes fool you. Give James a year to add some muscle and get comfortable in the system and he may surprise some fans.

Offensive Line: Kelvin Beachum, David DeCastro, Maurkice Pouncey, Ramon Foster, Marcus Gilbert, Cody WallaceAlejandro Villanueva, Doug Legursky, (Mike Adams-PUP).

Breakdown: Pouncey went down with a broken tibia and is projected to miss the first 10-12 weeks of the season.  We still need to count him towards the 53 man roster. The Steelers signed a familiar face in Doug Legursky who is country strong and has experience at both the center and guard position. He may push Cody Wallace until Pouncey returns. Mike Adams remains on the Reserve/PUP list.  Chris Hubbard has played his way off the team.

Defensive Line: Steve McLendon, Daniel McCullers, Stephon Tuitt, Cameron Heyward, Cam Thomas, L.T. Walton.

Breakdown: Stephon Tuitt is nursing an ankle injury and I think it is very telling that L.T. Walton played ahead of Cam Thomas in relief. This unit is pretty much set and the coaches are obviously looking for players who can embrace the versatility of playing in both a 3-4 and 4-3 front.

Outside Linebacker: Arthur Moats, Jarvis Jones, James Harrison, Bud Dupree, Anthony Chickillo.

Breakdown: No change from my last prediction. The first four slots are obvious. I believe Chikillo makes the team, not only based on his performance but on the surety that if he is placed on the practice squad he would be claimed by another team immediately.

Inside Linebacker: Lawrence Timmons, Ryan Shazier, Sean Spence, Vince Williams, Terence Garvin.

Breakdown: No change.  Timmons has a turf toe injury but it doesn’t seem to be serious. Spence and Williams could start on some NFL teams and Garvin is a special team ace.

Cornerback: Brandon Boykin, Cortez Allen, William Gay, Antwon Blake, Doran Grant, B.W. Webb.

Breakdown:  This unit is stronger than it would seem on the surface. The safeties have failed them over and over, and now I’m seeing cornerbacks who are starting to cheat in their coverage because they don’t trust the safeties to pick up the receivers over the top. I’m still torn between Kevin Fogg and B.W. Webb. Kevin Fogg’s ability is overshadowing B.W. Webb’s experience, however, the only way to retain both would be to put Fogg on the practice squad.

Safety: Mike Mitchell, Shamarko Thomas, Will Allen, Robert Golden, Ian Wild.

Breakdown: Thomas is strong is run support but simply abysmal in pass coverage. I had stated that Allen would be starting at some point and I stick to that prediction. Allen isn’t as athletic but he is defiantly more reliable. Mike Mitchell has played selectively this pre-season but should be an asset when healthy. Golden, a captain on special teams last year, returns as a backup.  Ian Wild shows position flexibility.

Specialists: Garrett Hartley, Jordan Berry, Greg Warren.

Breakdown: Significant changes here. Garrett Hartley may be looking at a serious hamstring injury. If he goes down, I look for us to check the waiver wire as teams make cuts. The Saints are in the enviable position of having two serviceable kickers so we may look at Dustin Hopkins or Zach Hocker when the smoke clears from that competition. Jordan Berry has stepped up his game and seems to be the better option over Brad Wing. Greg Warren is a lock.

Practice Squad:  RB Jawon Chisolm, WR C.J. Goodwin, TE Cameron Clear, OC B.J Finney, OT Mitchell Van Dyk,  DE Ethan Hemer, DE Joe Kruger, CB Kevin Fogg, Safety Alden Darby, Safety Gerod Holliman.

Breakdown: I’m not confident that Gerod Holliman makes the cut, but I think he has shown enough for the Steelers to believe they can sand out the rough edges.  Goodwin has flashed moments of talent as a receiver and has great size. TE Cameron Clear needs a year of conditioning and for someone to light a fire under him.  Finney, Van Dyk, Hemer and Kruger are insurance policies for the offensive and defensive lines. Fogg could be activated before the season is over. If Ian Wild doesn’t make the roster, Alden Darby should.

A players instincts, physical ability, and his drive to excel are all part of the analysis that make up any legitimate attempt to figure out who makes this team.   Predicting the Steelers 53 man roster is not an exact science, but that analysis, combined with a good deal of guesswork gets us as close as possible.

Do you see anyone on the team that you believe may not make the cut?  Is there anyone left off that you truly feel deserves a shot? Make your case.

Next: Steelers Morning Huddle

More from Still Curtain