Which Position Will The Steelers Add To With One Roster Spot Now Open?

The Pittsburgh Steelers released quarterback Troy Smith on Monday and thus opened up a spot on the 90 man roster. Five quarterbacks was one too many to take to training camp, so it is pretty safe to say that another quarterback will not be signed to fill that spot. With two long snappers, two kickers and two punters currently on the roster, I think we can rule out a specialist being added. With those positions out of the way, let\’s look at positions where a player might be added for camp.

Running BackRashard Mendenhall will start training camp on the PUP list, so that leaves the Steelers with just five healthy running backs right now including Baron Batch, who could still be considered border line coming out of the backend of his ACL rehab. The Steelers have started their preseason games the last two years with six healthy running backs on their roster, so my best guess would be that we could see one signed between now and the start of camp. Will it be a veteran for the minimum like Ryan Grant, Cedric Benson or Carnell Williams, or will it be another young undrafted type? Hard to say really, but my guess is that it would be the latter of the two if one is indeed signed. Should it wind up being a veteran, it could be a signal that they are not too happy with the depth behind Isaac Redman.

Tackle – The first name that will pop into everyone\’s head when you mention adding a tackle would of course be Max Starks. Starks however is still likely a month or more away from being cleared by the doctors as he continues to rehab from his ACL surgery. I just can\’t see him being signed until he is medically cleared. When you look at the Steelers depth at tackle it is pretty shaky. Marcus Gilbert is of course going to start the season on either the right or left side, but behind him is Mike Adams, Trai Essex, Jonathan Scott, Chris Scott and Kyle Jolly. With all due respect to Essex and C. Scott, I mostly view both as guards. The Steelers website list Essex as a guard and C. Scott as a tackle just so you know, and Essex did receive reps at both tackle spots during the OTA\’s and mini-camp. That pretty much leaves J. Scott and Jolly. Outside of Starks the two other big names still unsigned are Marcus McNeill and Chad Clifton, but both likely command too much money and are better served waiting for an injury around the league to happen. There is still no word as to exactly why Trevis Turner was released earlier this off-season, so I suppose he could be an option to return assuming he has not been forced to give up his football dream in order to provide for his wife and three sets of fraternal twins. The longer it takes for the Steelers to fill this roster spot, the more likely that they could be holding it for Starks in my opinion.

Linebacker – 14 linebackers are currently on the Steelers roster after Brandon Johnson was signed just a few short weeks ago. Keep in mind that there is an outside chance that both Jason Worilds and James Harrison begin training camp on the active PUP list. Worilds missed all of the off-season activities as he continues to recover from wrist surgery and Harrison was limited by his knee ever since the first OTA session. Stevenson Sylvester also missed a little time reportedly, but it is unknown for what reason or the seriousness. Depending on the health status of the group, the Steelers might feel that they need one more camp body.

Nose Tackle – Like Mendenhall, Casey Hampton will start training camp on the PUP list, so that leaves Steve McLendon, Alameda Ta\’amu, Kade Weston and Mike Blanc. Four should be plenty, but perhaps they want one more camp body.

Now those four positions are the four that jump out the most to me and I have listed them in the order of what I feel is the probability. There of course could be an argument made for adding another fullback or safety as well, but I wanted to highlight the positions that were the most obvious. Mike Wallace and David DeCastro still remained unsigned, but I feel the numbers are good at both wide receiver and guard as they are.

There is no hurry to fill the spot as training camp is still a good ways off, so this move could come today or right about the time the team reports to Latrobe. We\’ll just have to wait and see.

  • JayBirdDC

    You know it’s June when we’re talking about the 90th roster spot. You’re the man Dave for constantly finding new ideas and content to post.

  • JohnnyV

    OLB/DE Matt Roth? They brought him in back in May, so maybe his contract demands have gone down since then, that is if he’s been cleared from his concussion issues. Or a veteran defensive back?

  • Ezeman

    Derek Moye!?!

  • Tennbob

    Or maybe it could remain unfilled. You don’t have to have 90 players signed. One less body to cut and one less salary to pay. That being said, they probably will sign someone,

  • Outside LB seems to me to be the position of glaring need. Beyond the injury status of Harrison and Worlids, I can’t even name a player who might provide legit competition for C. Carter as the 4th OLB. I like Carters potential, but he should not just be handed a roster spot.

  • Barcat

    Great article with good insight. I would really like to see Starks back in black and gold, he has earned his spot as a Steeler but needs to get healthy. I also wouldn’t mind seeing another running back added, I love Red as the starter, but behind him is all question marks. I don’t think Dwyer or Clay are great fits for the new offense and neither has impressed me all that much.

  • Ezeman

    I see that Moye was already signed by the Saints so how about MLB Keyaron Fox or RB Jackie Battle

  • Tennbob

    Fox commits too many stupid penalties. That’s one reason he was cut.

  • Ezeman

    He was cut? thought he just signed with the Redskins in the off season.

  • Gus

    Hopefully corner I’m still not sold on any of the guys we have except Ike and he has a tendency to be inconsistent by season. When he’s good he’s good all year but when hes off it’s not a good things. There are plenty of corners available and who knows one could be able to surprise and earn a spot on the roster.

  • Puma

    I’m going off the board, and saying true FB. Michael Cox? Ovie Mughelli?

  • SteelSpine

    Agreed. Plus a new CB is more-likely to play (via special teams) than a new OLineman or new DLineman etc.

  • asmitty56

    Your point? He was a productive back ILB and knows the system. Resigning Fox would be a smart move. He only had one season that penalties was a problem, and frankly there is no reliable depth at ILB.