The NFL is mandating teams to trim their roster to 80 players by Tuesday, and here are the five most likely Steelers on the chopping block.
The NFL has added two small roster trims this offseason in order for teams to begin getting their roster closer to the 53-man final number. Last week, every team had to cut down to 85 roster members, and now every team is being asked to trim down to 80 players. The Steelers will be forced to cut a few more hopefuls during this round of releases.
While not an exact science, these five players seem like the most likely cuts for the team. None of them have any shot at making the final roster, and even a path to the practice squad seems unlikely. The Steelers will be better off moving on from them now and allowing some of the brighter talents elsewhere to have a chance at sticking around. Here are my predictions for the Steelers next round of cuts.
Christian Blake, WR
Signed due to a few injuries popping up amongst the group, Christian Blake has yet to accomplish much with the Steelers. While he has had some NFL experience to this point, he doesn’t appear to be sticking out with the team to this point. There is a lot of receiver depth on the roster at this point, so there isn’t a huge point in keeping Blake around at this point.
James Vaughters, EDGE
Another name that was brought in recently, James Vaughters is an older NFL journeyman that has served as a rotational edge player before. That said, despite his stint with the team being short, he hasn’t made much of a mark yet. Add in some of the promise being shown by some of the younger edge rushers and it is hard to justify keeping Vaughters around at this point.
Linden Stephens, DB
Originally a cornerback, Linden Stephens has begun taking snaps as a safety as well. In either spot, his play has been less than impressive. The Steelers could value that position versatility and try to keep him around for one more round of cuts, but it seems likely that his time with the team is coming to an end soon.
Donovan Jeter, NT
Signed amongst an already dwindling undrafted rookie group, Donovan Jeter has had a quiet training camp. That said, quiet is his style of game, as he is a throwback nose tackle that takes up space and sacrifices personal stats. Unfortunately for him, there are other defensive linemen outplaying him. He could circle back to the practice squad, but there isn’t a lot of reasoning to keep him on the roster right now.
Mataeo Durant, RB
One of my favorite undrafted rookies, Mataeo Durant has looked anything but good in camp. Despite having great speed, Durant hasn’t shown much of it in practice or in games. Add in his fumble last week to the Jaguars and his time with the Steelers is done. They found a potential contributor in undrafted free agent Jaylen Warren, but Durant has not been a solution so far.
With the NFL mandating a roster cutdown, these five Steelers seem like the most logical players to get released. Other players are outperforming them, and their odds of being anywhere close to the roster by week one are slim. Don’t be surprised to see these players get waived in the coming hours.