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.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I actually like Malecki more than Dave does. I think McCoy will not be on the PS for long…we will find a better suitor here IMO. Have to have a FB on the PS because no one else on the team can play. I have no problem keeping Clemons either…he seems to be a slower learner IMO and takes awhile to grasp things…next year if he doesnt have it then I would drop him.

  • panthrowe

    Did we have any of the cuts sign on practice squads elswhere?

  • Bob Francis

    Any thoughts about the omissions? Bryant? J. Johnson? T. Frederick?

  • Bob Francis has the practice squad lists up (although not all are complete). I wouldn’t expect to see any Steeler cast-offs to surface elsewhere. I wonder how much energy teams put into tracking movement on practice squads of other teams. I’m sure there are always some intriguing prospects out there, but then again, teams know best the players they’ve been working with already, so why grab someone else’s 62nd best player who’s an unknown when you can sign someone that’s been through your whole offseason camp?

  • TJimmy

    I think I’ll miss Jerrod Johnson. The kid couldn’t have played any better and he made good decisions.

  • Steve Duncan

    Personally, I would have put Bryant and Johnson on over Malecki and McCoy, buy I understand the position needs.

  • JohnnyV1

    I guess I don’t understand the make up of the practice squad, and why they keep some guys (Smith, Clemons, McCoy), particularly when they have several cracks at making the roster and can’t. Give them one year on the PS, then move on if they don’t show enough. McCoy didn’t show a thing. Clemons, ok, maybe for a project. Smith is nothing special. I agree with others….keep QB Johnson, DE Bryant.