The Pittsburgh Steelers 2013 preseason has now come and gone and now the team must trim the roster down to 53 players by Saturday evening. The last few cuts are always the hardest and trying to figure out the last three of four roster spots is a yearly chore.
Below is my best educated guess as to what the final 53 man roster will look like come Saturday evening. It of course could change between then and the season opener, but that depends on what come available on the waiver wire.
I hope you have enjoyed following this series throughout the offseason and I look forward to doing it again next year. If you missed my first five 53 man roster predictions following the draft, OTA practices, pre training camp, first preseason game, second preseason game, and third preseason game, you can view them by following the links provided.
Quarterbacks: (3) Ben Roethlisberger, Bruce Gradkowski, Landry Jones
- • Even though Jones looked more like an undrafted quarterback than a fourth-round quarterback during the preseason, I just can't see them trying to stash him on the practice squad like some have suggested they do. Instead, he will serve as one of the seven inactive players for several weeks baring an injury to Roethlisberger.
Running Backs: (4) Le’Veon Bell, Isaac Redman, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Felix Jones
- Jones has done enough in the two games that he has been on the roster that Dwyer should be expendable now. Perhaps the Steelers are able to deal him to the New York Giants for an offensive lineman or a late round draft pick between now and Saturday evening.
Fullbacks: (1) Will Johnson
- Hopefully the hamstring injury that Johnson suffered Thursday night is not serious. At least he has more than a week to recover. The Steelers need him to stay healthy.
Wide Receivers: (5) Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery, Markus Wheaton, Derek Moye
- Moye deserves the fifth wide receiver due to his play during the preseason. He has good hands and is slippery for a guy his size. Justin Brown should be able to get to the practice squad easier than Moye.
Tight Ends: (4) Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth, David Paulson, David Johnson
- It sounds like Miller will be taken off PUP by Saturday evening, but I am not expecting him to be ready for the season opener. Until he is ready, the Steelers will use Beachum as an emergency tight end. Spaeth has to be on the 53 man roster in order to be eligible for the injured reserve list with the designated to return tag. There is no guarantee that the Steelers use it on him, however, as they only get one a season. If they feel he will miss the first eight weeks, that will factor into their decision. Spaeth will be four weeks removed from his surgery come the season opener, so that also could play into the decision as well.
Offensive Line: (8) Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Ramon Foster, Mike Adams, Marcus Gilbert, Kelvin Beachum, John Malecki, Guy Whimper
- Unless the Steelers trade for another offensive lineman between now and Saturday evening, I am afraid we are stuck with Whimper as the eighth lineman. They spent a lot of time working on his position flexibility during the preseason and I think Jack Bicknell Jr. is dead set on keeping him. Chris Hubbard and Joe Long should make it to the practice squad without issue.
Nose Tackles: (2) Steve McLendon, Alameda Ta’amu
- Not only is Ta'amu a lot younger than Hebron Fangupo, I believe he outplayed him during the preseason as well. Woods will be the backup nose tackle to McLendon while Ta'amu should be on the inactive list to start the season.
Defensive Ends: (4) Brett Keisel, Ziggy Hood, Cameron Heyward, Al Woods
- Brian Arnfelt shouldn't have any issues making it to the practice squad. The Steelers need a third nose tackle more than they do another defensive end that has no chance at seeing the field.
Linebackers: (9) Lawrence Timmons, Larry Foote, LaMarr Woodley, Jason Worilds, Jarvis Jones, Marshall McFadden, Vince Williams, Chris Carter, Kion Wilson
- Carter really makes the team by default as the fourth outside linebacker. Being as Timmons can play outside in case of emergency, Alan Baxter will have to try to make it to the practice squad. The ninth linebacker will either be Wilson or Brian Rolle, but being as the former has practice squad eligibility and is considered to be the better special teams player of the two, I think he is kept over Rolle. Also, there is no reason why Williams shouldn't be kept.
Cornerbacks: (5) Ike Taylor, Cortez Allen, William Gay, Curtis Brown, Terry Hawthorne
- Either Josh Victorian or Isaiah Green should make it to the practice squad. Hawthorne has enough upside that makes him worth keeping.
Safeties: (4) Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Robert Golden, Shamarko Thomas, DaMon Cromartie-Smith.
- Like Wilson, Danny Smith will likely be banging the table to keep Cromartie-Smith for special teams. Should the safety not make the roster, then perhaps Rolle will be kept as a tenth linebacker.
Special Teams: (3)
Kicker: (1) Shaun Suisham
- This is an easy call.
Punter: (1) Drew Butler
- Butler really turned it on in the last two preseason games so I expect the Steelers will stay young at the position. Brian Moorman pushed the youngster hard and that is what he was brought in to do.
Long Snapper: (1) Greg Warren
- Easy call with just one.
Practice Squad: (8) Chris Hubbard, Josh Victorian, Joe Long, Alan Baxter, Nathan Overbay, Brian Arnfelt, Alvester Alexander
- Baxter and Arnfelt really looked promising during the preseason. Long and Hubbard are practice bodies due to the team only keeping eight offensive linemen. Overbay and Alexander might be needed to absorb some reps and the same goes for Victorian.
PUP: (1) Sean Spence
- They have a lot of time with the rules of the PUP to see if Spence can make it back this year.
Injured Reserve: (5) Plaxico Burress, Nick Williams, Nik Embernate, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Justin Cheadle
- I expect both Van Dyke and Cheadle to be released in the near future. Either it will be because they are healthy or because they have been given an injury settlement.
Week 1 Inactives: (7) Landry Jones, Terry Hawthorne, Alameda Ta’amu, Le’Veon Bell, Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth, Guy Whimper
- These are pretty cut and dry. If Spaeth is moved to injured reserve with the designated to return tag, it will open up a spot for another lineman to be signed off the waiver wire or practice squad to be inactive.
|PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO PERFORM|
|*||Van Dyke, DeMarcus||CB|
|WEEK 1 INACTIVES|