The Steelers were able to land a former first-round pick to their practice squad. Here’s a look at Pittsburgh’s group of insurance players in 2021.
With just hours remaining before the cutdown deadline, the Pittsburgh Steelers were able to go from 70 players on their roster to 53. Just a few weeks ago, NFL teams had 90 players on their roster, and a lot of pressing decisions had to be made to get to this point.
For many players who were at training camps this year, there won’t be another chance to make an NFL squad. Others were fortunate enough to land on practice squads. These players will act as insurance for the team and could be promoted to the game-day roster in the event of an injury or release.
Less than a full 24 hours after cutting their roster down to just 53 players, the Steelers have almost finalized their 16-man practice squad in 2021 – signing 15 players as of Wednesday afternoon. Here’s a look at the players who have been signed so far, according to ESPN’s Brooke Pryor:
Steelers added 15 to the practice squad:
WRs Rico Bussey, Cody White, Steven Sims
RBs Trey Edmunds, Jaylen Samuels
OL Chaz Green, John Leglue, Malcolm Pridgeon
LB Derrek Tuszka, Christian Miller
TE Kevin Rader
DE Daniel Archibong
DBs Mark Gilbert, Donovan Stiner, Karl Joseph
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) September 1, 2021
Steelers have some interesting names on the practice squad
There are plenty of new names and faces on Pittsburgh’s practice squad this year, but one name you might already be familiar with is Karl Joseph. Joseph was a former first-round pick that many Steelers fans had an interest in coming out of the NFL Draft back in 2016.
Sadly, Joseph never lived up to lofty expectations during his time with the Raiders. He spent his first four years there before being signed by the Browns last season. Now Joseph failed to make the final cut in Cleveland and hopes to revamp his career as a member of the Steelers.
Of course, this would first require him to work his way from the practice squad onto the active roster, but we’ve seen this happen before. While he hasn’t been spectacular, Joseph’s experience in the second is most welcomed, and he gives Pittsburgh quality insurance at the safety this year.
In addition to Joseph, the Steelers signed two outsiders to fill the void at edge rusher on the practice squad in Derrek Tuszka and Christian Miller. Both players are a bit undersized as defensive ends for most teams, but they have quality athletic traits. With Quincy Roche recently poached by the New York Giants, Pittsburgh needed extra depth here.
It was also nice to see the team hang onto young training camp standouts WR Rico Bussey and CB Mark Gilbert. Neither player is likely to see the field in 2021, but they will have a chance to make the final cut again next year. Running back Jaylen Samuels also made it back to the practice squad after spending his first three years on the active game-day roster.
The Steelers have room for just one more player on the practice squad this year, and I don’t see a lot of changes happening here right away. It will be interesting to see if any of these players are called upon in 2021.