Steelers 2013 53 Man Roster Prediction – Final Edition

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.

Offense: (25)

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.

Defense: (25)

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.
76Adams, MikeT
68Beachum, KelvinG
26Bell, Le’VeonRB
84Brown, AntonioWR
89Cotchery, JerrichoWR
66DeCastro, DavidG
73Foster, RamonG
77Gilbert, MarcusT
5Gradkowski, BruceQB
85Johnson, DavidTE
46Johnson, WillFB
23Jones, FelixRB
3Jones, LandryQB
62Malecki, JohnG/C
83Miller, HeathTE
14Moye, DerekWR
81Paulson, DavidTE
53Pouncey, MaurkiceC
33Redman, IsaacRB
7Roethlisberger, BenQB
88Sanders, EmmanuelWR
87Spaeth, MattTE
34Stephens-Howling, LaRodRB
11Wheaton, MarkusWR
61Whimper, GuyT/G
28Allen, CortezCB
31Brown, CurtisCB
54Carter, ChrisOLB
25Clark, RyanS
42Cromartie-Smith, DaMonS
50Foote, LarryILB
22Gay, WilliamCB
21Golden, RobertS
30Hawthorne, TerryCB
97Heyward, CameronDE
96Hood, ZiggyDE
95Jones, JarvisOLB
99Keisel, BrettDE
40McFadden, MarshallILB
90McLendon, SteveNT
43Polamalu, TroyS
74Ta’amu, AlamedaNT
24Taylor, IkeCB
29Thomas, ShamarkoS
94Timmons, LawrenceILB
44Williams, VinceILB
48Wilson, KionILB
56Woodley, LaMarrOLB
65Woods, AlDE
93Worilds, JasonOLB
9Butler, DrewP
6Suisham, ShaunK
60Warren, GregLS
39Alexander, AlvesterRB
69Arnfelt, BrianDE
45Baxter, AlanLB
15Brown, JustinWR
74Hubbard, ChrisG
79Long, JoeT
48Overbay, NathanTE
35Victorian, JoshDB
51Spence, SeanILB
80Burress, PlaxicoWR
*Cheadle, JustinG
*Embernate, NikG
*Van Dyke, DeMarcusCB
91Williams, NickDE
26Bell, Le’VeonRB
3Jones, LandryQB
83Miller, HeathTE
14Moye, DerekWR
87Spaeth, MattTE
74Ta’amu, AlamedaNT
61Whimper, GuyT

  • Matthew Marczi

    Wow, our lists are remarkably similar right down to the practice squad. Only differences: I go with Rolle over Wilson and I have Spaeth on IR with Joe Long as the 9th lineman. Terence Garvin makes the practice squad with Long on the roster. Game day inactives would be the same except for Long instead of Spaeth.

  • Luke Shabro

    For the love of God I wish they would cut Whimper and Chris Carter. Chris Carter has shown literally nothing. Yes he knows the defense but so does Dave Bryan, doesn’t mean DB should be on the roster. The kid has zero pass rushing ability. I’ll take Baxter any day. I’d be ok with Ta’amu on the PS if it meant we could keep Arnfelt on the 53. This projection is probably correct and that’s what makes me sad. No Whimper No Cry!

  • steeltown

    I agree with most of this…
    Boy do I fear losing the potential of Alan Baxter.. I’d maybe place J.Brown on the PS instead of Chris Hubbard and Garvin instead of Overbay, if we need another TE early on we can always call McCoy..if they plan on putting Spaeth in the IR with designation at the start of the season, that could shuffle a few things up regarding PS guys


    Victorian will make it, as it stands he is probably our 3rd best cover guy. We should try and get away with as little amount of O’lineman as possible, i’d prefer just 7 out the gate and see how we go. Ventrone is my outside bet at the expense of Cromartie-Smith or Brown , they are only any good on ST anyway and so is Ventrone if not better.

    Baxter will make it too, no brainer

  • Ken

    Cut Landry Jones! if you get him to the practice squad great, if not no biggy. He was a mistake on draft day. Everyone knew it. Sign Charlie Batch for 3rd QB in the event we need to actually play. Still angry we didnt draft Case Keenum in the 7th round last year.

  • Joel Miller

    Did you miscount safeties? You say 4 and list 5?

  • NW86

    Spaeth can’t go to IR/Designated until after the cuts have been made, so he’d be on the initial 53-man either way.

  • chris ward

    Agree with mostly everything not sure about Whimper but guess he will get the 8th spot by default. Agree with Arnfelt and Baxter being definite locks to make the PS. Also with Moye making the 53 he deserves it.

  • NW86

    You’re missing Brown from your PS list in the narrative…he’s listed down below in the chart.
    Can’t argue with any of the 53…I was rooting for Long or Hubbard over Whimper, but like you said, Whimper has been getting plenty of playing time at both T and G, so they’re obviously working on the positional flexibility they need out of an 8th OL.
    The PS is a toss up, but I think Overbay is expendable (I think Heath is ready to start practicing any day now), but then again maybe they need to carry him for a week or two if DJ needs to practice at fullback in place of WJ. I also don’t think they need Alexander. In their place, maybe Green and Garvin.

  • NW86

    RE: J. Brown, I almost posted the same thing, but noticed that Dave meant to include him on the PS list. There are only 7 on the list above, and JB is the 8th one in the chart at the bottom.

  • JohnnyV1

    Yes, it’s 5 safeties Dave has listed, but with that, the total adds to 53.

    I still cannot see them keeping 2 TE’s that can’t play for a month or more. Heath yes, but not Spaeth. I like the idea of trading Dwyer to get a better 7th/8th offensive lineman, and the Giant now need a RB.

    We need to keep Baxter, b/c the Saints DC Ryan needs guys and he’s watching what we do w/ our linebackers, and possibly Brian Arnfelt. Chris Carter sucks, Baxter has potential. If we “have to” keep both, then dump Cromartie-Smith

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Terrible idea. Jones is a rookie, and (surprise) looked like a rookie. But he also has real potential. He stands tall in the pocket and can make accurate throws. He obviously needs work on his timing and decision-making, but that’s to be expected from someone who has NEVER played at the NFL level. Give the guy a chance to learn and develop. Besides, he’s the #3 QB. He’s not the backup.

    And Batch? No. Let him leave on the right note, will you?

  • marvin87

    dwyer makes team, ta’amu is not a better player than fangupo . Spaeth should be an out right waived injured cut. heath miller should stay on pup and not rushed back. Baxter is your 3rd best pass rusher on the team so he should make the 53. maybe keep only 4 wr.also look for ol and a veteran safety on the waiver wire.

  • T R

    Keep 5 RB at the rate they going down. Cut Whimper, Keep Dwyer if no trade is done.. We can always call whimper if a OL goes down. Aint noone picking Whimper up.. he will be sitting by the phone in his Steelers Uniform. Or maybe wait and see if Rainey is cut from BMore and grab him. but keep 5 RBs.

  • oakleafmold

    Good list; nearly matches mine, except Whimper needs to be the first guy
    cut–he’s the worst lineman to wear black and gold in years. Some team
    is going to cut a better player. Also, I keep Baxter over Chris Carter,
    The Invisible Linebacker. Carter has had 3 years to show something. I’m
    not sure of the Wilson/Rolle decision–looks like a toss-up. I like
    Paulson a lot, and wouldn’t mind losing Spaeth. I’d also like to see
    Ventrone on the roster, but I like Cromartie-Smith quite a bit.

  • TxSteeler

    Agree 100%. I liked your idea of cutting DCS and keeping Brian Rolle. Rolle is a head hunter and did well where DCS had two major screw ups. Just don’t trust him.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    Hopefully, there will be some OL available willing to take the minimum in exchange for a real opportunity to make an impact.

  • steeltown

    Aha now I see it

  • steeltown

    Agreed..he marched down the field on the Steelers opening drive and scored after we allowed an opening drive TD and he seems to have good pocket presence..obviously as the game wore on he made quite a few mistakes, but it was his FIRST extended action…. its just growing pains

  • Rick Cantrell

    Dwyer will not get cut. He has looked as good or better than the rest most of the preseason. Felix Jones was brought in last night to play against defensive players that will not be in the NFL after tomorrow. I am not sold on him. I think Dwyer has better potential if he can keep healthy. Jones has never shown he can make it in the NFL. Whimper — OMG, where do they come up with these guys. Should have kept Legursky. What were they thinking?

  • Eric

    I cant agree more with everything you said. I would also say do not keep Wilson and Rolle and use that spot for a lineman or Tight End yet to be acquired. Reggie Dunn was also a disappointment.

  • steeltown

    I think he’s implying they promote Joe Long to the 53man once Spaeth is designated and in turn Garvin is then later signed to PS

  • Ken

    I hope yall are right, but he made those same mistakes at Oklahoma. The bar for rookie qb’s is not the same as the 70’s. I’m just saying he is no option right now so put him on the practice squad. No one is going to cut someone and pick him up. He was rated as a 7th round draft pick on most boards.

  • Kevin SFIC

    If true, he will no doubt be waived when the Steelers sign one of the many OT’s cut available after the final cut downs.

  • Eddy

    Dwyer is a below average pass catcher with workout issues and has a permanent room in Tomlin’s doghouse.

    He may have flashed at times during the preseason but the Steelers won’t keep him.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Yes, I understand that. My reference is to Dave alluding to the possibility that they don’t place Spaeth on IR. My 53-man roster includes Spaeth initially, then being replaced by Joe Long after the IR move is made.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I think Carter looked good last night. If they had a better player than Whimper, I’m sure they would cut him, but unfortunately they don’t. Ideally he’ll never dress for a game and it won’t even matter. And just my personal opinion, I could easily be wrong, but I think losing Ta’amu is a bigger risk than losing Arnfelt.

  • Rick Bowser

    Barring a trade for a near pro bowl caliber OT, Jonathan Dwyer isn’t going anywhere. especially with the uncertainty with Le’veon Bell.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    My list is very close as well:
    QB: BB, Grad, L. Jones. This was set in stone once Jones was drafted.
    HB: Bell, LSH, Redman, F. Jones, Dwyer. After another fumble Dwyer maybe unemployed!
    WR: Brown, Sanders, Cotch, Wheaton, Moye. Moye won hands down the 5th spot.
    TE: Miller, Spaeth, D. Johnson, Paulson. The use of Beachum at TE allows us to only carry 2 healthy TE’s
    FB: W. Johnson
    OL: Adams, Foster, Pouncey, DeCastro, Gilbert, Beachum, Malecki, Whimper. I believe from some praise from Tomlin and doing enough the last 2 games Whimper sneaks in.

    DE: Hood, Keisel, Heyward, Woods. Woods will be both a back up DE and NT
    NT: McLendon. I do not think either Fangupo or Ta”Amu makes the roster
    OLB: Woodley, Worlids, Jones, Carter, Baxter. We need pass rushers and Carter stays because of exp.
    ILB: Foote, Timmons, Williams, Rolle, McFadden.
    CB: Taylor, Allen, Gay, Hawthorne, Brown. Brown is a dynamite ST guys but this will be his last year
    S: Clark, Polo, Thomas, Golden,

    ST: Suis, Butler, Warren

    PS: Long, Hubbard, Arnfelt, J. Brown, McCoy(if still eligible), Ta’Amu, Victorian, Ventrone.

    The Steelers normally play it safe and will go with exp. over youth and this year will be no different.

  • CW

    Have to wonder if the Steelers have already called Max Starks as Guy Whimper offers next to nothing as a lineman.

  • brandon

    Completely agree!! And comartie smith and brown should be gone vintrone and dwyer