Friday, August 30, 2013
Projected 53-man roster for the Steelers
By Scott Brown
PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers are expected to announce at least some of their cuts late Friday afternoon, and teams have to finalize their 53-man rosters by 6 p.m. Saturday. Here is my projected 53-man roster:
Quarterback (3): Ben Roethlisberger, Bruce Gradkowski and Landry Jones -- No surprises here as this was set before the Steelers started training camp.
Running back (5): Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, Le'Veon Bell, Felix Jones and Will Johnson -- I could have flipped a coin between Jones and LaRod Stephens-Howling, that's how close the call is between the two. I'm not sure the Steelers anticipated Jones looking as good as he has when they traded for him a week ago. He is still young enough at 26 to rejuvenate his career, and the former Dallas first-round pick can help in several areas.
Wide receiver (5): Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery, Markus Wheaton and Derek Moye -- The Steelers could very well keep only four wide receivers for now, but I think Moye has played too well to risk losing the former Penn State star if they try sneaking him onto the practice squad. He gives the wide receivers corps a rangy target with deceptive speed, and also offers injury insurance.
Tight end (4): Heath Miller, David Johnson, David Paulson and Matt Spaeth -- This position is the toughest to figure with Miller and Spaeth out. The latter is still on crutches after suffering a Lisfranc injury, but I don't think the Steelers use the one-time exemption that allows team to put a player on injured reserve and add him to the roster later in the season. They will save that in case a starter goes down. The use of Kelvin Beachum as a sixth lineman/eligible receiver allows the Steelers to get away with two healthy tight ends until Miller returns.
Offensive line (8): Mike Adams, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Marcus Gilbert, Beachum, Guy Whimper and John Malecki -- The starting five has been set since offseason practices, and Beachum, the top reserve, can play any position along the line. Don't be surprised if the Steelers scour the waiver wire Saturday night to see if any of the players cut by other teams can bolster their depth.
Defensive line (6): Brett Keisel, Steve McLendon, Ziggy Hood, Cameron Heyward, Al Woods and Alameda Ta'amu -- Ta'amu gets the final spot as the Steelers go with six linemen. Woods does give them the flexibility to go in another direction since he can play nose tackle as well as end.
Linebacker (10): LaMarr Woodley, Larry Foote, Lawrence Timmons, Jason Worilds, Jarvis Jones, Chris Carter, Marshall McFadden, Vince Williams, Alan Baxter and Kion Wilson -- Ten linebackers might be one too many, but Baxter, the undrafted free agent, has shown too much promise to cut. There has been a spirited battle for spots behind starting inside linebackers Timmons and Foote. Wilson is the last inside linebacker in because of his ability to play special teams.
Defensive back (9): Ike Taylor, Cortez Allen, Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, William Gay, Curtis Brown, Shamarko Thomas, Robert Golden and Terry Hawthorne -- Golden beats out Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith, and Hawthorne gets the nod as the fifth cornerback, though the rookie fifth-round draft pick missed a lot of training camp while recovering from offseason knee surgery.
Specialists (3): Shaun Suisham, Drew Butler and Greg Warren -- Veteran Brian Moorman didn't beat out Butler, which is why I think the latter returns for a second season as the Steelers' punter.