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Sunday, August 31, 2014
How the Pittsburgh Steelers were built

By Scott Brown

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers submitted their 53-man roster to the NFL on Saturday afternoon. Now the question is how much it will change with teams allowed to claim players who were waived Friday and Saturday at noon ET on Sunday.

What is interesting about the current roster -- and telling of how the draft is a series of educated guesses -- is that the Steelers have as many former undrafted free agents on offense and defense as they do first-round picks.

I did not include the three specialists in this analysis since kicker Shaun Suisham, punter Brad Wing and long snapper Greg Warren are all former undrafted free agents.

Here is a closer look at how the Steelers were built.

Ryan Shazier
Ryan Shazier is the latest of 10 first-round picks on the Steelers' roster.
First round (10): S Troy Polamalu, QB Ben Roethlisberger, TE Heath Miller, LB Lawrence Timmons, C Maurkice Pouncey, DE Cameron Heyward, G David DeCastro, OLB Jarvis Jones, LB Ryan Shazier, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey.

Notable: Heyward-Bey, the seventh overall pick of the 2009 draft by the Raiders, is the only first-rounder on the roster who wasn’t taken by the Steelers.

Second round (6): OLB Jason Worilds, OT Marcus Gilbert, OT Mike Adams, RB Le'Veon Bell, DE Stephon Tuitt, S Mike Mitchell.

Notable: Mitchell, the only second-round pick on the roster not drafted by the Steelers, was the Raiders’ second pick the year they drafted Heyward-Bey.

Third round (4): TE Matt Spaeth, LB Sean Spence, WR Markus Wheaton, RB/WR Dri Archer

Notable: Spence, a 2012 pick, makes the team after a devastating knee injury he sustained two years ago imperiled his career.

Fourth round (8): CB Ike Taylor, CB Cortez Allen, S Shamarko Thomas, QB Landry Jones, WR Martavis Bryant, S Will Allen, C/G Cody Wallace, CB D.W. Webb.

Notable: A lot of Steelers fans are wondering why the Steelers kept Jones after his lack of productivity in the preseason. Might they be looking to upgrade at the No. 3 quarterback position? Terrelle Pryor, who was waived by the Seahawks, might intrigue them as coach Mike Tomlin has long been enamored of Pryor’s physical ability.

Fifth round (3): CB William Gay, C Wesley Johnson, DE Cam Thomas.

Notable: Johnson will get a chance to develop into the Kelvin Beachum role from two years ago. Beachum proved to be particularly valuable as a backup because he could play every position along the offensive line. Johnson, a rookie fifth-round pick, has similar versatility.

Sixth round (7): WR Antonio Brown, WR Justin Brown, NT Daniel McCullers, LB Vince Williams, OLB Arthur Moats, CB Brice McCain, QB Bruce Gradkowski.

Notable: McCullers, the second of two sixth-round picks the Steelers made this year, looks like a real find. The 6-7, 352-pound man-child has the potential to occupy multiple blocker in the middle, and he moves very well for someone his size.

Seventh round (2): DE Brett Keisel, OT Kelvin Beachum.

Notable: Two absolute steals here. Keisel went with the 242nd pick of the 2002 draft; Beachum lasted until the 248th pick of the 2012 draft.

Undrafted free agents (10): G Ramon Foster, NT Steve McLendon, FB Will Johnson, S Robert Golden, LB Terence Garvin, CB Antwon Blake, G Chris Hubbard, TE Michael Palmer, RB LeGarrette Blount, WR Lance Moore.

Notable: All of these players except for Hubbard figures to be active on game days.