The Steelers finalized their practice squad over the weekend, and here are the five players with the best potential from this unit.
The practice squad has become quite a useful tool over the past few seasons. Originally designed with the idea of stashing developing players, the practice squad is now almost an extension of the roster. Players are moved up and down constantly and with little penalty. It is vital for the Steelers to have some capable players on this unit.
With the initial 16-player squad now finalized following roster cuts, a few names should bring some excitement to the team. While obviously not supreme talents (they would be on rosters if that was the case), these players can sub in if needed. Moreover, quite a few of these names are also prime developmental candidates. Here are the five Steelers practice squad members that have the most potential.
Leglue is a friendly face
One of the biggest camp sleepers from the last offseason was John Leglue. He wasn’t a well-known name, but he flashed a lot of versatility along the line and landed on the practice squad last season. He was eventually called up and became the starter at guard due to the number of injuries there last season.
Many thought that he had a better camp than Kendrick Green, but he ultimately wound up on the practice squad once again. Leglue isn’t a flashy player by any means, but he is a capable backup that can fill in at a multitude of positions. Having him around on the practice squad is a huge boost for this team.
Davis isn’t in a bad place
Carlos Davis was a classic example of the numbers game getting to him. Despite playing well during camp and the preseason, the Steelers had a crowded depth chart in front of him. They kept seven players here, to begin with, so Davis wasn’t cut because he was a bad player by any means.
While opportunities may be limited for him on the practice squad, he should be able to hand around and will likely be called up from time to time. Next season, the defensive line room will be far more open, so Davis may not be done on the active roster yet. He is a fine-depth player that can hold his own if needed.
Jackson has the pedigree you want
A relatively surprising name to circle to the Steelers, Josh Jackson is a former second-round cornerback that was seen as a draft steal way back when. He was a regular rotational cornerback in Green Bay before they moved on. He was a quiet member of the Chiefs roster last season and now finds himself in Pittsburgh.
While it seems unlikely that Jackson finally hits his stride and becomes a capable starter, he can be a capable reserve with both inside and outside versatility. Jackson was a name I liked a lot coming out of school, and while his career hasn’t been anything to note yet, he still seems like a good find for the Steelers practice squad.
Adams is a grizzled veteran
One of the more recent changes to the practice squad is what veterans can be on it. Andrew Adams is the perfect example of this, as before the changes a player with his level of experience wouldn’t have been eligible for a spot on the practice squad. While not an amazing player, Adams is a capable veteran who can play on defense and special teams in a pinch.
While Adams hasn’t been a regular starter since 2019, he has been a capable rotational defender. Add in his special teams ability and you have a fine backup. He is more than likely insurance until Damontae Kazee can come back, but for the short term on the practice squad, the Steelers could do much more at safety.
Gilbert is a welcome return
One of the Steelers best signings from the 2021 draft, Mark Gilbert started off last season on the practice squad before the Lions poached him. He had a relatively successful tenure there in terms of a reserve, playing in eight total games for Detroit. It was limited, but he held his own in coverage.
Hyped up for his injury-plagued college career and relationship with Darrelle Revis, Gilbert was up and down as a rookie. He has a season’s worth of experience under his belt now and could be a quality depth piece. He showed a lot of potential, and the fact he is back with the team is great news.
The Steelers have finalized their initial practice squad, and while these guys will serve as emergency options as of now, there are some that present great value. If they are needed, any of these five practice squad players should be able to hold their own.