The Pittsburgh Steelers have now made their roster cuts and the next course of action will be the signing of eight players to the practice squad. Below is my educated guess as to who those eight players will be.
Terry Hawthorne – Hawthorne is now healthy after missing the offseason practices and a good portion of training camp with an injured knee that ultimately required surgery. Due to all the time he missed, the Steelers fifth-round draft pick must now focus on learning the defense.
Justin Brown – Derek Moye cleanly beat out Brown for the fifth wide receiver spot. The jury is still out on Brown and his long term upside, but I think he will circle back around to the practice squad.
Joe Long – The Steelers only kept eight offensive linemen on their 53 man roster so Long should be a good bet to return to the eight man practice squad once again.
Chris Hubbard – Once the team lost Nik Embernate and Justin Cheadle to injuries, Hubbard became the next man up. He played exclusively at left guard during the preseason so I suspect they will now try to work on his position flexibility moving forward.
Brian Arnfelt – The undrafted Arnfelt really showed a lot during the preseason at right defensive end and now John Mitchell should have all season to work with him. With rookie draft pick Nick Williams now out for the season with a knee injury, The Northwestern product will have a good shot at making the 53 man roster next year.
Alan Baxter – The Steelers liked Baxter so much that they traded away Adrian Robinson a few weeks ago. Baxter can get after the quarterback and must now work on his drops and getting a better grasp of the defense. Depending on how things go, the undrafted free agent might see time on the Steelers 53 man roster at some point during the season.
Marshall McFadden – McFadden might have lost his roster spot because of a hamstring injury suffered by fullback Will Johnson Thursday night in the preseason finale. The Steelers needed to keep tight end Michael Palmer, so being as Kion Wilson is regarded as a better special teams player, McFadden was waived. If McFadden is not signed to the practice squad, you would have to think Terence Garvin will be.
Alvester Alexander – Being as the Steelers only have four semi-healthy running backs on their 53 man roster right now, I think they might consider adding Alexander to the practice squad to help with the scout team duties.