Kozora: 2014 Steelers 53 Man Roster Prediction – Post Draft

By Alex Kozora

Following Dave Bryan’s lead, here is my first crack at predicting the Pittsburgh Steelers 2014 53 man roster. Needless to say, this is subject to change once we hit training camp.

Quarterbacks – (3) Ben Roethlisberger, Bruce Gradkowski, Landry Jones

Analysis: Jones is safe for at least another season. Other than that, not much to discuss.

Running Back – (3) Le’Veon Bell, LeGarrette Blount, Dri Archer

Analysis: Depth is a little concerning with just three running backs, including a 173 pound Archer (still counting him as a running back even with the number change), but neither Alvester Alexander, Tauren Poole, or Miguel Maysonet deserve consideration at this point.

Fullback – (1) Will Johnson

Analysis: No brainer here. Johnson didn’t play as much in 2013 with the team using so much 11 personnel still has value as a blocker, receiver, and emergency runner. Especially with only three running backs.

Tight End – (4) Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth, Rob Blanchflower, Michael Palmer

Analysis: Blanchflower is talented enough to beat out David Paulson. Palmer becomes a pure special teamer.

Wide Receiver – (5) Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Lance Moore, Martavis Bryant, Darrius-Heyward Bey

Analysis: An interesting group and difficult to project. Not much special teams experience with this group, especially if Archer knocks Brown off return duties. If Wheaton becomes the #2 WR, it’s unlikely he keeps his job as a full-time gunner. The #5 spot could be open to whoever wins Danny Smith’s heart but then again, Derek Moye rarely played on special teams when active last year.

Offensive Line – (8) Kelvin Beachum, Marcus Gilbert, Ramon Foster, David DeCastro, Maurkice Pouncey, Mike Adams, Guy Whimper, Cody Wallace

Analysis: Whimper and Wallace become a swingmen. Their experience is enough to send Wesley Johnson to the practice squad. The Steelers have kept just eight lineman the last two seasons.

Defensive Lineman – (6) Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Steve McLendon, Cam Thomas, Brian Arnfelt, Roy Philon

Analysis: Debatable group. Could Brett Keisel get re-signed? Arnfelt’s hard work and strong preseason showings is enough to put him over Nick Williams. Philon is my summer flier. Always a good chance a UDFA makes the club. The team stashes Daniel McCullers on the practice squad.

Outside Linebacker – (4) Jarvis Jones, Jason Worilds, Arthur Moats, Chris Carter

Analysis: As much as it pains me, the team stubbornly keeps Carter on the roster again. Moats can play inside and out.

Inside Linebacker – (5) Lawrence Timmons, Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams, Jordan Zumwalt, Terence Garvin

Analysis: Crowded group. If Sean Spence looks healthy, some tough decisions will have to be made. Until we get eyes on him, he’s left off the list. Position to watch during camp. Someone isn’t getting a rose.

Cornerback – (6) Ike Taylor, Cortez Allen, William Gay, Brice McCain, Antwon Blake, Shaquille Richardson

Analysis: The team can’t have back-to-back years with a 5th round cornerback not making the team, right? Richardson gets a spot. He and Blake become gunners.

Safety – (5) Troy Polamalu, Mike Mitchell, Shamarko Thomas, Will Allen, Robert Golden

Analysis: Loads of special teams value here with Thomas, Allen and Golden all seeing extensive time there last season. Thomas slides in as the dimeback. Allen is also capable of playing there.

Kicker – (1) Shaun Suisham

Analysis: No brainer.

Punter – (1) Adam Podlesh

Analysis: Little more experience than Brad Wing and brings more consistency. Better way to avoid junior varsity punts.

Long Snapper – (1) Greg Warren

Analysis: I’m not Warren’s biggest fan but the team made little effort to replace him.

Practice Squad – (8) Wesley Johnson, Eric Waters , Daniel McCullers, Chris Elkins, Justin Brown , Miguel Maysonet, Devin Smith, Howard Jones

Kozora’s 2014 Steelers 53 Man Roster Prediction Post Draft

Roethlisberger, BenQB
Gradkowski, BruceQB
Jones, LandryQB
Brown, AntonioWR
Wheaton, MarkusWR
Moore, LanceWR
Heyward-Bey, DarriusWR
Bryant, MartavisWR
Miller, HeathTE
Spaeth, MattTE
Palmer, MichaelTE
Blanchflower, RobTE
Bell, Le’VeonRB
Blount, LeGarretteRB
Archer, DriRB
Johnson, WillFB
Pouncey, MaurkiceC
DeCastro, DavidG
Foster, RamonG
Beachum, KelvinT/G
Gilbert, MarcusT
Adams, MikeT
Wallace, CodyC/G
Whimper, GuyT/G
Taylor, IkeCB
Allen, CortezCB
Gay, WilliamCB
McCain, BriceCB
Blake, AntwonCB
Richardson, ShaquilleCB
Polamalu, TroyS
Mitchell, MikeS
Thomas, ShamarkoS
Allen, WillS
Golden, RobertS
Heyward, CameronDE
McLendon, SteveNT/DE
Tuitt, StephonDE
Thomas, CamDE/NT
Arnfelt, BrianDE
Philon, RoyDE
Timmons, LawrenceILB
Shazier, RyanILB
Williams, VinceILB
Zumwalt, JordanILB
Worilds, JasonOLB
Jones, JarvisOLB
Carter, ChrisOLB
Moats, ArthurOLB/ILB
Garvin, TerenceILB/OLB
Warren, GregLS
Suisham, ShaunK
Podlesh, AdamP

About the Author

Alex Kozora
Full-time blogger from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • 20Stoney

    Bring back Harrison to compete with carter. I can’t imagine only carrying 3 running backs.

  • Randy Neff

    I wouldn’t dismiss Spence so quickly. He will prove all doubters wrong. A Steeler who actually saw him practice predicts a big season from him.Doesn’t sound like someone who won’t make the team.

  • Jeff Anoble

    2nd prediction I’ve seen to leave McCullers off the list. I really think just his power and girth will get him a roster spot. And I would keep an eye on Wesley Johnson making the team. He was really good in the SEC.

  • Steelers12328882

    Nice prediction, but again surprised to see an average player like Michael Palmer assured another roster spot. I really hope Blanchflower can nail down the position. Nice to see Arnfelt too, but I think Philon is a reach. I’d like to see a reach along the O-line too. I really hope Howard Jones makes some splash plays on special teams and makes the roster. Thank you for not including Keisel and Harrison.

  • shawn

    I just dont see how Spence would be left off the team after investing 2 seasons on him … they need to let him practise and i just can’t see them keeping 5 Safeties or 4 TEs or whatever extra postionals and not keeping him !

  • Weiss Chad

    Maybe spence tears it up and becomes trade bait for a cb ? I know steelers don’t do that, but maybe the kid starts somewhere else.Im sick of seeing young stars leave our team after sitting three yrs after we groom them and only getting a fifth rd comp. pick aka Wesley Johnson for Kennan Lewis.Id rather trade for a player straight up.Keenan Lewis is one of colberts few mistakes.Why not give Vince Williams a shot at olb?

  • Weiss Chad

    I think all rookies but McCullers and Johnson make roster.I think they’re practice squad bound.I think Howard jones makes the team.I think Bryant becomes third wr and Moore becomes fourth.We added a lot of talent and part of me says yeah go make that run and other part of me says one more bad year and we could build something really special .

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    I think Howard Jones would be the UDFA who make it. Mauro too.

  • Chad H

    Why Carter. I feel like you just cut a piece out of me

  • John C

    Pretty solid “predictions”….would like to see Howard Jones as the UDFA that makes the squad. Agree that Johnson and McCullers on practice squad. If Spence makes the team (which I hope he does) would that leave Garvin or Zumwalt out? Only 3 RBs? I guess there will be plenty of veteran RBs out there to sign if we lose one of ours for the year. One thing I would like to see in the predictions is which player(s) will have season ending injuries either before or during the first couple weeks of the season!

  • DoctorNoah

    I worry about losing McCullers on waivers. The other younguns also have PS eligibility.

    I think you’re right on the money overall but maybe the FO looks at Zumwalt as an OLB and gets rid of Carter. Unlikely but possible. I think there’s a way to keep Spence on the roster if he performs.

    Also, I still like Embernasty.

  • dennisdoubleday

    Josh Mauro over Philon. Mauro also claims to have long-snapping ability, which is intriguing. If he can do it, you could save a roster spot or at least have a free backup for Warren.

    Palmer is pretty iffy. See no need for 4 TEs; we only had that last year because of Miller/Spaeth injury concerns.

    Time to cut ties with Chris Carter and keep another young guy who MIGHT produce more (i.e. SOMETHING)

  • Antonio G

    I will agree on most of these choices but here is where I differ. Very controversial decision here, but If Spence is healthy, so long Garvin. Coach talked about some folks switching positions and I can imagine they finally try spence at ss. They same way Troy lined up at some LB last year, I can see Spence transitioning to safety, and better for his long term health too. Will Allen is not that great. Spence is the wild card.

    Waters as the fourth tight end over Palmer. He is a great blocker and better athlete. Palmer is only special teams and nothing more and has no room to grow.

    McCullers over Philon in a heartbeat. He’s a project but too valuable to leave on PS

    Practice squad: Mauro and Nick Williams. Both valuable projects

    Wesley Johnson has to grow more. Maybe takes over for whimper but not yet. Ideally he moves to tackle and beachum to guard over foster.

    Embernasty has to make at least PS
    Howard jones or Garvin
    Devin smith
    Justin brown

  • Derick L Young

    unusual to have 4 TE’s no? hopefully Zumwalt can play outside as well.

  • Derick L Young

    well Moore would play slot so…

  • Shannon Stephenson

    So many depth positions open we could debate this for days. Nick Williams is not on the PS which I strongly disagree with. The OL depth will be very interesting. Not sure how OLB will be but I just cannot see that is how it will end up.

  • Steelerhawk47

    It appears they are moving Archer to receiver, so we probably pick up another RB. Also, I think Josh Mauro sticks around…

  • Steelerhawk47

    If McCullers can command a double team, he makes the 53 man roster…

  • Bill

    Pretty good roster prognostication except for OLB. Carter has shown nothing and Moats has never played OLB in a 3-4. Huge difference in OLB skill requirements between 4-3 and 3-4.

  • cp72

    Yeah I agree on the safeties. I think Allen and Golden vie for one spot l, and then carry an extra running back with some special teams ability. Stephens Howling would be perfect if healthy.

  • cp72

    Moats can play inside and Timmons can go outside in a pinch.

  • dgh57

    Spence at ILB, move Zumwalt to OLB, and say adios to Chris Carter!

    Howard Jones is my summer flier to make it at OLB but may end up on the PS.

  • Alex Kozora

    Nope. Team carried 4 TEs even after Spaeth came back. Palmer/Paulson saw a lot of time on special teams.

  • Alex Kozora

    McCullers will probably be ok. Remember, he’s a 6th rounder. Steelers’ fans are going to think of him higher than anyone else, just like any other fan would their own picks. If team’s really liked him, he probably would have been taken higher. By camp, you usually stick with the group that you have since you’ve seen them every day. In the classroom, each practice, etc. Higher comfort level.

  • prnitz

    Sounds about right, but i hope a couple UDFAs make a splash and make the team. Would like to see Jones and McCullers surprise everyone with their progress and Show too much potential to not be on the roster

  • PA2AK

    but the TE position was in shambles last year. I think they let Palmer & Paulson (who really, equal 1 below average TE) go and make room for maybe another LB (if it is a guy like Spence) or another RB. ST contribution shouldn’t be too much of a problem giving the youth mix.

  • Weiss Chad

    Why can’t Wheaton play the slot and Bryant become outside wr in three wr sets

  • tim

    He wasnt really good….he’s ALWAYS been slow , has poor lateral movement and has NO pass rushing moves whatsoeva……I stated WAY before the draft that this guy WILL BE A BUST, PERIOD!

  • tim

    Palmer > Paulson…

  • tim

    Johnson doesnt have NFL LT size at 297….he’ll HAVE to get get bigger/stronger to play LT here…

  • tim

    I like the idea so other spot, whatever it may be, CAN open up….Will J has played TE so maybe he’s the 3rd TE, unless they want to keep 4 TE

  • Leon Mcnair

    There is no way mount McCullers go to the practice squad he will back up mcclendon

  • Antonio G

    I agree. That’s why I suggested he starts on the practice squad. He will have to get stronger. He’s already bulked up some by the looks of it. We shall see if he can eventually take over the LT role from Beachum who is shorter at 6’3 , 303lbs. I’m still holding out that the new coach can make Adams into a starter, but that may be asking too much.

  • Jeff Anoble

    Tyron Smith of Dallas made the pro-bowl last year and is listed as 290. Other pro-bowlers last year include Joe Staley 306, Joe Thomas 311, Trent Williams 315. and Branden Albert 315.

    2013 draft OTs picked in the top 4 picks include Eric Fisher pick#1 overall is 306 as is number 2 pick Luke Joekel and number 4 pick Lane Johnson is 303.

    And starting LT now Kelvin Beachum is 303lbs.

    Welcome to the new LT of the NFL. More athletic and can move. The days of Max Starks and 344lb LTs are gone at least in the zone blocking scheme of the Steelers and Mike Munchek. Johnson doesn’t have far to go in an NFL weight and strength program.

  • tim

    Actually……Smith is listed @ 318 according to NFL.COM..he was 290+ coming out of college I remember but I doubt it now….See NOW I gotta go look at the rest…( from NFL.COM or team sites) Staley 6’6 315… T.Williams 325…so two of the 1st 4 you said are actually bigger than you had listed and you was only off by a few lbs but you listed them off in your favor, not saying you did it on purpose…….so is the LT a lil lighter than that 340+ you said, yes BUT. ….Beach is a stop gap, EVERYONE knows that and the top LT’S drafted you mention will ALL be over 315 ina few years as they add lbs and and get heavier with age…

  • Arthur Branch

    It’s kinda hard to consider a 6th round pick a bust. I think in the 6th & 7th round teams are drafting for potential. If these guys were shoe ins to make the team they would have went earlier in the draft. Blanchflower and McCullers both have high potential.

  • tim

    I would agree with Bflower but not Big Mac….he’s just WAY too slow and slow doesnt translate to the NFL…Bflower only has one scrub to beat in DP ( or double penetration which will be his next career) ill take even money in Big Mac’s failure this preseason….ANYONE??

  • tim

    I bet you he DONT!

  • Derick L Young

    so you want to put a player at slot who had 6 total catches last season and a rookie opposite of AB? They didn’t sign Lance Moore to stand on the sidelines. Moore is the natural fit at slot over Wheaton. Especially because Moore has a lot more experience. Have to wait and see to be sure.

  • Derick L Young

    seemed to be a waist of space to carry 4 TE’s when 2 of them had a total of 2 catches all year and barely played. my guess is they were worried about Heath and his health. Spaeth was not used once in a double TE formation so….

  • Derick L Young

    who was the 4th TE before Spaeth came back in December…