With the Steelers base roster now set, here are three questions that fans should still have about the roster.
The Steelers finalized their initial roster and are in the process of finalizing their practice squad. With week one of the season upon us, the team seems mostly set with their group of 53 players that they have put together. While I am confident that the team made moves in their best interest, there are still some questions about the makeup of this roster.
While there are some overarching questions the team will have to answer as a whole (how the offensive line will do and how will Devin Bush look), these questions are focused on the actual roster makeup. These questions are focused on players that made it and just what their role will be. Here are three questions about the initial roster makeup of the Steelers.
What is with the EDGE move?
The Steelers made a fine trade for some desperately needed edge depth, adding Malik Reed for a swap of late-round picks. That isn’t the issue here. What is curious is what the team did after solidifying their top backup.
Initially, Derrek Tuszka made the roster as the fourth edge rusher. This made sense, as he was on the roster for most of last season. He flashed a little as a pass rusher but was a strong special teams player. No, you don’t want him playing a large number of snaps but having him as a fourth option was fine.
Instead, the team waived him in favor of last year’s camp darling Jamir Jones. While on the surface this isn’t a huge move, the team cut Jones last year in favor of Tuszka. This isn’t a huge deal obviously, but it is weird to see the team flip players like this after doing the exact opposite last year.
How will the running back room look?
The Steelers had a huge question mark at running back heading into the offseason. While Najee Harris is the starter, there was little in terms of depth behind him. Jaylen Warren emerged as a competent player in camp, but he isn’t a proven commodity yet. That isn’t to say that he shouldn’t be on the roster, but he may not be ready to be the top backup yet.
That wouldn’t be a huge deal if a decent runner behind Harris was on the roster. Benny Snell isn’t that though, as he is a great special teams player but a mediocre runner. At this point, if Harris were to miss significant time, the team would be in trouble.
Can Warren be the number two? I’m hopeful, but he needs to prove it still. It would have been better for a more accomplished runner to come in, especially since Warren looked like a fine special teams player. Long term I’m hopeful Warren can be a fine reserve, but he opens the season as a question mark.
Why bring Scott back?
Of all of the cuts and additions to this roster over the past few days, cutting and then bringing back Trent Scott was the weirdest move. While the actual act of cutting him and bringing him back made sense from a logistical perspective (the team had to move some players to injured reserve), Scott really wasn’t a great roster option.
Throughout all of camp and the preseason, Scott looked like a very below-average player. I get it, he has a history with the new offensive line coach. Add in the rest of the line seemingly struggling to transition to the new system and having a veteran with experience is a plus. That said, Scott did nothing to earn a roster spot as his play was mediocre.
There were a slew of better options that were released by other teams that the Steelers should have pursued. Heck, even Joe Haeg, who was cut seemingly in favor of Jesse Davis, would have been a better pickup. Scott is the ninth man on the offensive line, but the team had quite a few superior options that they should have gone with instead.
While the Steelers initial roster isn’t anything shocking, there were a few surprises thrown in by the team. With that considered, these three questions are the ones I’m left pondering following all of the moves. Ideally, they won’t come back to haunt the team.