2012 Steelers 53 Man Roster Prediction – Final Edition

The final preseason game of the 2012 season is now in the books for the Pittsburgh Steelers and that means it is time for my final 53 man roster prediction of what I think the roster will look like after the final cuts are announced Friday evening.

When building my 53 man roster I like to start with the players that I think will be on the week 1 inactive list and work backwards from there. Unfortunately, due to all of the injured players and Ryan Clark being forced to sit out the game in Denver, it makes it a bit easier for me this time around. Joining Clark on the week 1 inactive list according to my calculations will be Rashard Mendenhall, Stevenson Sylvester, Alameda Ta\’amu, Mike Adams, Al Woods and Charlie Batch.

Keep in mind that the Steelers will have to keep David DeCastro on the 53 man roster until late Tuesday. At that point they can move him to the injured reserve list so that he can qualify for the new 8 week IR rule.

The injury to Sean Spence was sickening and I fully expect he will be out until training camp next year and thus placed on injured reserve later today.

Here are my previous roster projections dating back to just before the draft.

Post Draft

Pre Training Camp

Post Preseason Game 1

Post Preseason Game 2

Post Preseason Game 3

Now on to the rest of the 53 man roster that I predict the Steelers will have after the cuts are made.


QB (3)Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch

  • The reason I am keeping Batch is because he deserves to be kept and the Steelers need a 7th man on the inactive list. Would the Steelers just dump him for another player to be on the list in his place? I don\’t think so and it is not like he is taking up a huge hit against the salary cap after signing a qualifying contract. while I do not have Jerrod Johnson going to the practice squad, it is not out of the question.

RB (5)Rashard Mendenhall, Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman, Chris Rainey, Baron Batch

  • As stated above, Mendenhall figures to be inactive week for at least the first few weeks of the season. Redman, Dwyer and Rainey are obvious keepers. Batch would be obvious as well, but I think he might have tweaked his groin during the game Thursday night. That being said, Mike Tomlin did not mention him during the post game presser and Batch has been on all of the special teams units throughout the preseason. Don\’t consider him a running back here, consider him a specialist much like Arnaz Battle was last season. If the Batch groin injury cost him his spot, I would look for either Derrick Williams or David Gilreath to get this roster spot.

WR (4)Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery

  • There is no need for a 5th wide receiver because Rainey can always do in a pinch as a slot receiver and Todd Haley just doesn\’t use 4 and 5 wide receiver personnel groupings. The only way a 5th makes the roster, in my opinion, is if Batch doesn\’t because of a groin issue.

TE/FB (4)Heath Miller, Leonard Pope, David Paulson, Will Johnson

  • Johnson of course is the fullback in the offense. Paulson and Pope have been very active on special teams in the preseason and I do believe that I also saw Paulson take some snaps at fullback Thursday night. Paulson can also line up wide if need be. He is on the roster until Weslye Saunders returns from his suspension. Haley likes using two tight ends and a fullback quite a bit, so these numbers and players fit his personnel groupings.

OL (9)Maurkice Pouncey, Max Starks, Marcus Gilbert, Willie Colon, Ramon Foster, Mike Adams, Doug Legursky, Trai Essex, David DeCastro

  • DeCastro will be on the roster until Tuesday and at that time I could see a veteran inside linebacker like James Farrior or a young linebacker like Marshall McFadden or Adrian Robinson signed to the 53 man roster to take his place. I have both Kelvin Beachum and Ryan Lee making the practice squad for depth.


NT (3)Casey Hampton, Steve McLendon, Alameda Ta\’amu

  • Hampton played Thursday night and that was very good to see. I expect Ta\’amu to be on the inactive list for quite a while. Pretty cut and dry here.

DE (4)Brett Keisel, Ziggy Hood, Cameron Heyward, Al Woods

  • The fourth spot was a dead heat between Woods and Corbin Bryant, who still has practice squad eligibility. The Steelers sure did keep Woods on the roster a long time last year after claiming him off waivers, so it sure makes sense that they would at least want to keep him a little while longer. This call could go either way and I choose Woods merely because Bryant has practice squad eligibility.

LB (8)Larry Foote, Lawrence Timmons, James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, Stevenson Sylvester, Jason Worilds, Brandon Johnson, Chris Carter

  • I have the Steelers keeping just 8 linebackers until Friday, when DeCastro is moved to injured reserve. As much as I would like to keep Robinson here, I can\’t because of his lack of quality special teams play. Both Harrison and Worilds are expected to suit up and play in Denver and Johnson can kick outside if the need arises. As stated earlier, the Steelers might watch the waiver wire for an inside MACK type linebacker or sign back McFadden or Robinson when the DeCastro move is made.

CB (5)Ike Taylor, Keenan Lewis, Cortez Allen, Curtis Brown, Terrence Frederick

  • I am keeping 5 cornerbacks due to the uncertainty of the knee injury suffered by Brown Thursday night. Frederick can also play on special teams and worked both inside and outside during the preseason. I realize that he gave up a long touchdown against the Panthers, but Brown also gave up two in week one of the preseason and they aren\’t going to cut him. It was either Frederick or Josh Victorian and I chose to put the latter on the practice squad. If Brown is 100%, you could see a 9th linebacker such as McFadden or Robinson kept instead of a fifth corner. The Steelers could also decide to work the waiver wire for a veteran 5th corner that plays special teams, depending on how serious the injury to Brown is. I wonder if Anthony Madison or Bryant McFadden are still in shape. I am sort of kidding, I think. This is another position that I am uncertain as to how the numbers will work out and it depends mostly on the status of Brown.

S (5) – Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Ryan Mundy, Will Allen, Damon Cromartie-Smith

  • With Clark sitting out against Denver and Robert Golden hurting his hamstring Thursday night, Cromartie-Smith is the obvious choice here. He also has been very active on special teams throughout the preseason. That is as simple as I can put it with this position.


K (1)Shaun Suisham

  • Cut and dry here and only way it isn\’t Suisham is if a free agent is signed.

P (1)Drew Butler

  • Jeremy Kapinos never made it back from the back injury.

LS (1)Greg Warren

Did you really think Warren would lose his job?


IR (2)David Johnson, Sean Spence

  • Not much to add here as both would have contributed this season. DeCastro will be moved here on Tuesday more than likely.

SUSP (1)Weslye Saunders

  • When Saunders returns, either Pope is released or Paulson goes to the practice squad.

PS (8)Kelvin Beachum, Ryan Lee, Corbin Bryant, Robert Golden, Adrian Robinson, David Gilreath, Josh Victorian, Marshall McFadden

  • Assuming Golden can recover from his hamstring I think he is a lock along with Robinson. Both Beachum and Lee are deserving as well. If Bryant doesn\’t make the 53, he should clear waivers easily. McFadden is a guess as is Gilreath and either one has an outside shot at making the roster.

The injuries to Batch, Brown and Golden in the final preseason game makes this prediction more challenging than it already usually is. in addition, the battle between Woods and Bryant is too close to call. The injury to Spence makes yet another spot tough to decide. All the above said I am pretty sure about 49 of the 53 spots. We shall see how close I come to 53.

2012 Steelers 53 Man Roster Prediction

7QBBen Roethlisberger
4QBByron Leftwich
16QBCharlie Batch
34RBRashard Mendenhall
33RBIsaac Redman
27RBJonathan Dwyer
20RBBaron Batch
22RBChris Rainey
17WRMike Wallace
84WRAntonio Brown
88WREmmanuel Sanders
89WRJerricho Cotchery
53CMaurkice Pouncey
73G/TRamon Foster
64G/CDoug Legursky
77TMarcus Gilbert
74GWillie Colon
78TMax Starks
76TMike Adams
79G/TTrai Essex
66GDavid DeCastro
48TEDavid Paulson
83TEHeath Miller
45TE/FBLeonard Pope
46FBWill Johnson
98NTCasey Hampton
90NTSteve McLendon
95NTAlameda Ta\’amu
96DEZiggy Hood
99DEBrett Keisel
97DECameron Heyward
65DEAl Woods
24CBIke Taylor
23CBKeenan Lewis
31CBCurtis Brown
28CBCortez Allen
37CBTerrence Frederick
43SSTroy Polamalu
25FSRyan Clark
29SRyan Mundy
42SDamon Cromartie-Smith
26SWill Allen
50ILBLarry Foote
94ILBLawrence Timmons
92OLBJames Harrison
56OLBLaMarr Woodley
93OLBJason Worilds
55ILB/OLBStevenson Sylvester
54OLBChris Carter
48ILB/OLBBrandon Johnson
60LSGreg Warren
9PDrew Butler
6KShaun Suisham
51ILBSean Spence
85FBDavid Johnson
82TEWeslye Saunders
68G/TKelvin Beachum
35CBJosh Victorian
30SRobert Golden
40ILBMarshall McFadden
69GRyan Lee
18WRDavid Gilreath
46OLBAdrian Robinson
91DECorbin Bryant

  • RW

    I’d prefer to keep Jerrod Johnson on the practice squad over Beachum or Lee – no need for 2 guards there and Johnson can be developed into a real solid number 2 down the line. Let’s face it – Batch and Leftwich don’t have too much longer, why not infuse some youth into the QB position by keeping Johnson on the PS? Beachum really didn’t impress me anyway. Also, we have depth at both ILB and OLB positions, and many of the LBs switched positions to learn them in camp (including timmons, who should now know both BUCK and MACK). No need to go out and waste money on resigning James Farrior when we need it to get Wallace signed long term.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I am going to take a different perspective than RS below. I don’t like our situation at a bunch of positions now due to injury. I think you have pretty much the same roster I would pick other than not keeping Johnson on the PS. Personally, I could see us going out and getting an ILB to put on the roster for a few weeks. I really don’t want Johnson playing in the defense and with Spence out and Sylvester injured, we only have 2 healthy guys there.

  • I’m likely on an island with this idea, but do any of our TEs other than Heath really impress? Let’s pick up Chris Cooley at a good price, as his skill set may work well in a Haley offensive scheme. I know he has had some injuries, but who hasn’t at this point..

  • RW

    Brandon Johnson has played decently on defense, and Sylvester shouldn’t be out for too long this season – I just think there are other options for depth. I would probably agree with you, though, if it weren’t for mike wallace and his contract situation. I’m just not sure it’s worth it to go out and sign a LB at this point. If a contract with Wallace got done and there were sufficient cap room, Id say go ahead, but you always want to have some cap room during the season in case of a major injury during a playoff push. Otherwise I agree with your assessment.

  • GunsDontKillWoodleyKills

    I put out there the idea of Cooley and the response I got was that he is going to cost too much. He would be a nice #2 TE…for atleast the first 4 games.

  • Don

    Without Johnson, Ben would still be the “young” guy among the QBs. Would prefer to not be so old, especially with the banged up OL up front. Plus, I thought he looked really good, so I hope they find a way to keep him.

  • grw1960

    Any chance that Pope could be a surprise cut ? Hope Hope.
    I sure wish the Steelers would have drafted a TE earlier last draft.

  • I agree with most of your suggestions, the one thing that stuck out to me was your Practice Squad. It seems very unlikely for them to keep 2 LBs on the PS, yes there are some injury issues, but having 9 LBs between the roster and PS seems to be their usual MO… also, looking back at the previous few seasons initial PS signing, it seems like they like to have 5 offense to 3 defense, occasionally an even split, but I don’t see them stacking up heavier on defensive players.

  • We really have yet to see Haley’s real influence on the offense. I think he has a very diverse playbook and there are a lot of schemes that he is saving for the season. I am more concerned about the command of the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Maybe it is me, but I thought the defense got pushed around a bit all pre-season. I am not sure that Alameda Ta’amu gets retained, either. I saw some better results from #65 last night in run stopping situations. Ta’amu struggled when attacked laterally, but was tough when facing a direct run and was somewhat effective. I am not concerned about the Steelers overall ability to stop the run, but control of the line of scrimmage in a consistent manner remains a concern for this fan.

  • RW

    Ta’amu won’t be released – he’ll be developed as part of the roster and, while it will likely take some time, he will at the very least serve as a dependable backup. Good NTs are hard to come by, particularly young ones, so if Hampton gets hurt again Ta’amu is a great insurance policy and it will at the very least get him some experience on the field. I’d be more concerned about the offensive line than the D-line. With Hampton, McLendon, Kiesel, Hood and Heyward we have a pretty solid rotation of guys who can step in and play. Woods is also pretty serviceable. So, Ta’amu has some time to develop – he’ll be fine.

  • Koleman Dudek

    Ta’Amu is a lock, nose tackles take a few years to develop in the system. Absolutely no chance he is released.

  • Koleman Dudek

    Pope is a guaranteed lock, unless he really struggles by the time Saunder’s comes back, he will be with the team.

  • SteelerDave

    I agree. Johnson has earned the PS and Beachum has not.