QUARTERBACKS (3) – Ben Roethlisberger, Bruce Gradkowski, Landry Jones
Analysis: The Steelers aren’t going to cut their fourth round draft pick. Jones was drafted for 2015, not 2013.
RUNNING BACKS (6) – Le’Veon Bell, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, Larod Stephens-Howling, Felix Jones, Will Johnson
Analysis: Jon Dwyer put the ball on the ground twice in the preseason. Would the Giants be interested in a trade after losing Andre Brown to a broken leg Thursday night? Felix Jones ran hard in his short-stay and Mike Tomlin mentioned him by name. I don’t see them keeping both, but let’s say they do at least for this week.
WIDE RECEIVERS (4) – Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery, Markus Wheaton
Analysis: An excellent last two weeks pushed Derek Moye to the top of the list in the battle for the fifth wide receiver, but the question is are they going to keep five. If not, both Moye and sixth round pick Justin Brown are headed to the practice squad. Look for Moye to go to the practice squad and come back when the Steelers put Matt Spaeth on the IR-designate.
TIGHT ENDS (4) – Heath Miller, David Johnson, David Paulson, Matt Spaeth,
Analysis: Spaeth has to be kept on the 53 even though I expect the Steelers to eventually put him on IR-designate. As mentioned above, look for that to happen next week and Derek Moye to take his spot.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (8) – Maurkice Pouncey, Ramon Foster, David DeCastro, Mike Adams, Marcus Gilbert, Kelvin Beachum, John Malecki, Guy Whimper
Analysis: This isn’t as bad as many are making it sound. Beachum is a very capable, position-flexible backup. Malecki is serviceable in the interior. Whimper isn’t good but can play both guard and tackle so he makes it…while the Steelers review the waiver wire. Chris Hubbard and Joe Long are candidates for the practice squad.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (6) – Steve McLendon, Ziggy Hood, Brett Keisel, Cameron Heyward, Al Woods, Alameda Ta’amu
Analysis: Brian Arnfelt is the sleeper here. The Steelers could cut both Ta’amu and Hebron Fangupo and look to sign one back to the practice squad. Al Woods has shown himself capable of playing the nose, so if the Steelers like Arnfelt better than either of the NTs that’s the route they could take. But let’s give Ta’amu the nod and put Arnfelt on the practice squad.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (5) – LaMarr Woodley, Jarvis Jones, Jason Worilds, Chris Carter, Alan Baxter
Analysis: Baxter made the team with consistently good play throughout training camp and the preseason. Carter is on the bubble fighting Kion Wilson and Damon Cromartie-Smith for a spot.
INSIDE LINEBACKER (5) – Lawrence Timmons, Larry Foote, Marshall McFadden, Vince Williams, Kion Wilson
Analysis: Wilson is practice squad eligible, so that could actually hurt him. Bryan Rolle had a nice camp, but isn’t good enough on special teams. Terence Garvin, the longest of long shots, could find his way to the practice squad.
CORNERBACKS (5) – Ike Taylor, Cortez Allen, William Gay, Curtis Brown, Terry Hawthorne
Analysis: Curtis Brown is lucky so many corners were hurt in camp. He’s an ace special teams player but continues to disappoint at corner. He’s at risk to Isaiah Green and Josh Victorian, who was not as good in camp this year as he was last.
SAFETIES (4) – Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Shamarko Thomas, Robert Golden
Analysis: Damon Cromartie-Smith is no longer practice squad eligible. He might be the 53rd guy, but didn’t help himself on Thursday night.
SPECIALISTS (3) – Shaun Suisham, Drew Butler, Greg Warren
Analysis: Brian Moorman had a chance to win the punting job. He blew it the last two preseason games.
PRACTICE SQUAD – (8) Derek Moye, Justin Brown, Chris Hubbard, Joe Long, Brian Arnfelt, Terence Garvin, Josh Victorian, Ross Ventrone