With minicamp in the rearview mirror and training camp on the horizon, the Pittsburgh Steelers should already have all of the main components of their offseason roster in place, with all draft picks signed and no more free agents projected to be added until further evaluation.
It’s possible that a need should arise for further additions, either due to poor performance or injuries, once we reach training camp.
But for the time being, we should take a look at the depth chart that the front office has put together since the end of the 2013 season and see how well it stacks up in terms of quality and depth.
Due to the cumbersome lengths that offseason rosters can reach, we will be projecting a number or range of roster spots per position and focusing on that number of players per position, with other potential notables receiving mention below.
Projected Roster Spots: 3
Ben Roethlisberger: Entering his 11th season, Roethlisberger is of course ubiquitous when it comes to the Steelers, so regurgitation of history is unnecessary. What’s more significant is more recent developments.
As the offense around him continues to become younger, Roethlisberger is continually becoming more and more of a leader and a presence on this team, and that is being felt more this offseason than ever. By now, it feels organic, rather than forced.
Perhaps encouraged by the results obtained at the end of last season, it seems he has the fire to get this season started as soon as possible, and he’s driving his young offense to get on the same page.
Bruce Gradkowski: Last season, his first with Pittsburgh, Gradkowski did the two things most valued by head coaches in their backup quarterbacks: staying healthy and not playing a single snap.
The biggest contribution to the team thus far has been helping to recruit wide receiver Lance Moore to help shore up the wide receiver depth this offseason.
Landry Jones: Quarterback coach Randy Fichtner gave Jones, the second-year quarterback, the bulk of the second-team reps thus far this summer; however, he noted that this was an effort to even up the reps.
Still, some have noted that he is making quicker decisions as a result of having a better understanding of the system, and his accuracy has improved. He is still throwing his share of interceptions, however, and I’ve not heard any comment on his footwork. Jones and Gradkowski may be in for a battle for the backup position during training camp.
Others: The only other quarterback on the roster is rookie Brendon Kay. He appeared to flash some early during rookie minicamp and early OTAs, but he has quickly fallen by the wayside, and head coach Mike Tomlin dismissed a notion that he is in competition with Jones.