Closer Look At The Steelers Practice Squad
The Pittsburgh Steelers signed 8 players to the practice squad on Saturday and now we will look at each a little more in depth and which ones might possibly have a chance to contribute in the future.
S Damon Cromartie-Smith – Cromartie-Smith is back again on the practice squad and is mostly regarded as a strong safety type. Robert Golden made the 53 due to the fact that he is more of a ball hawk as a free safety and can also play cornerback, God forbid, in a pinch if injuries hit. Cromartie-Smith can help on special teams, but as long as the Steelers have Troy Polamalu and Ryan Mundy healthy, he has no shot at making the 53 man roster unless they need another special teams player like they did late last year.
G Ryan Lee – Lee had a great preseason with the Steelers and shows a lot of promise. All of his snaps were with the third team unit at left guard, but he dominated what competition he faced. Lee also looked good on the move to the right running the trap through the hole. With some coaching and a year on the practice squad, he very well could be on the roster in 2013. Great find by the scouts.
WR David Gilreath – Gilreath had 5 catches for 78 yards with 4 of those coming in the game against the Colts and all 4 coming on 3rd down and moving the chains. Gilreath also can return kicks in a pinch and is best used as a receiver outside instead of the slot. This is not his first experience with a practice squad, so he should know the routine. The only way he sees the 53 man roster is because of an injury or if the roster is healthy at all positions later on in the season.
CB Josh Victorian – Victorian almost had 3 interceptions during the preseason, but he instead had to settle for just 1. He has hands like Ike Taylor it seems, but he breaks on the ball very well. The Steelers kept only 4 cornerbacks, so Victorian might see the 53 man roster once some roster spots free up. I just can\’t see the Steelers carrying 4 cornerbacks all season. Victorian got a huge break as he was signed after Terry Carter got injured. He also beat out 7th round draft pick Terrence Frederick for the practice squad spot.
WR Toney Clemons – The Steelers needed to keep two wide receivers on the practice squad because they only kept four on the 53 man roster. They needed practice bodies, plus weren\’t ready to give up on Clemons, who they drafted, just yet. Clemons did not jump out during the preseason and had problems with drops during training camp. Consider him a project.
ILB Marshall McFadden – McFadden likely benefited from the injury to Sean Spence, but he did always seem to be around the ball during his playing time. He reminds you of Spence a little only without the quick first step. McFadden is more of a MACK inside linebacker type and the coaches now have time to work with him further to see if he has a future. He was hindered by the lockout last year and a position move. The talent seems to be there with him.
FB/TE Jamie McCoy – McCoy really was not impressive during the preseason. He started of camp as a tight end and was moved back to fullback to get some work there after David Johnson went down. His signing to the practice squad is likely to save wear and tear on Will Johnson in practice more than anything. He might bounce on and off the practice squad all season.
G/C John Malecki – Malecki knows the routine and can play both center and guard in practice. He likely does not have a long term future with the Steelers, but he can serve as a scout team center for the time being. In my opinion he is a better guard than a center, but he will never be on a 53 man roster.