Steelers 2014 Pre Training Camp Roster Polls: Will LB Sean Spence Make The Final 53?

The Pittsburgh Steelers won’t begin training camp for a few more weeks, so I thought we would spend this week talking about a few players that many believe will have a decent shot at making the final 53 man roster. Basically, these are players that we cant quite consider locks, but do consider as being on the bubble.

After reading the recap of the player that we highlight, you can cast your vote as to whether or not you think that player will make the final 53 man roster. Each poll will run for three days.

The second player up in this series is third-year linebacker Sean Spence.

2013 Season Recap:

Due to him still trying to recover from the serious knee injury that he suffered during the final preseason game of his rookie season, Spence started the 2013 season on the Reserve PUP list and that meant he was forced to miss at least the first six weeks of the season. Come October, Spence finally resumed practicing again with hopes that he would soon be activated to the 53 man roster to close out the season, but a broken finger suffered in his first practice back resulted in him needing surgery and thus he was shut down for the remainder of the season.

2014 Outlook:

Spence worked fully during the Steelers offseason practices and without limitations, according to head coach Mike Tomlin. Also, despite missing two full seasons, he feels that he has a good grasp of the defense heading into training camp and the real test will come later this month when the hitting starts. Unless he suffers some sort of setback or is no longer able to move like he did prior to suffereing the injury, Spence figures to have a great shot at completing what will be an amazing comeback. However, with rookie Ryan Shazier now slated to start alongside Lawrence Timmons in 2014, Spence might have to beat out either Terence Garvin or rookie Jordan Zumwalt for a spot on the final 53 man roster. Winning a spot will require him playing well on special teams and that’s one area that we will need to watch closely during the preseason.

Vote below and tell us the reason why you voted the way that you did in the comments below.

You can view the results here.

Previous Polls:
Will LB Terence Garvin Make The Final 53?

  • Jeff

    I’m glad you brought this up, Dave. It seemed like a lot of Steeler fans just assumed that Spence would be on the team just by virtue of coming back from injury. Not saying that I’m not excited for his comeback or what potential he has, but he’s never played a down in the NFL. A few need to temper expectations a bit. With that said, I REALLY hope he makes the team.

  • joed32

    The blue box says “Invalid Poll”

  • SteelersDepot

    Not sure what happened, but poll is now fixed.

  • steeltown

    I’d say yes, he does. But, that all depends on his ability and/or physical limitations. He would’ve easily beat out players like Garvin and Zumwalt before the injury, after the injury is a different story. I say yes, he makes the roster but, I guess we’ll see.

  • SteelersDepot

    Someone wrote in the other comments:

    “They’ve stuck with him for two years, which in my mind breaks ties in his favor. It’s all about whether the athleticism is back, so color me optimistic on that front.”

    His rookie deal has very little dead money attached to it. In fact it only cost $136,345 in dead money this year and another $136,345 next year if cut prior to season.

  • steeltown

    If he does make this Team and readily contributes week in and week out it WILL be an amazing story.

  • dgh57

    Pre Training Camp and preseason games I have him ahead of Garvin and Zumwalt. The preseason may tell a different story but for now I think/hope he makes the roster.

  • ApexSteel

    I’m not sure honestly. I don’t really know what he looked like in training camp before the injury, but what I do know that he was a third round pick. What that tells me is that he needed some work to perfect his craft and a few years of inactivity won’t help that. Add that to the fact that other players have been getting meaningful snaps in his absence I see his road as more of an uphill battle than the other ILBs.

  • Richard Clinton

    He make teem

  • steeltown

    Im not sure he needs or needed a few yrs to perfect his craft, he was one of college footballs most productive players during his yrs there. I think it was his combine numbers and measurables (height) that hurt his draft status.

  • Ken

    Agreed his size was his issue, not his play. I think he will get a longer look and perhaps longer grace period. It’s a business but they want him to succeed like everyone else. If he shows anything he is probably going to stick.

  • ApexSteel

    Not what I said, but that doesn’t matter. If he wasn’t drafted until the late-middle of the third round he had some issues that needed to be worked on other than his lack of size and speed. Most rookies need time to get acclimated to their position especially when it’s a new one. He might have gotten mental reps by watching it done at practice, but he hasn’t played meaningful football in 2 years. That will hurt your development no matter who you are.

  • Louis Goetz

    I live in South Florida and have been an FSU fan my whole life. I hated watching Sean Spence when he as at UM, mostly because he was so dominant against the Noles. So, I’m no homer and I’m not biased towards him. When the Steelers drafted him I was elated. The coaches were too, and if you don’t know what Spence looked like in training camp you must’ve been under a rock somewhere because all anyone talked about was how well he was performing. It’s why everyone was so upset when he got hurt. It’s why the Steelers have held on to him and paid him for the past two years instead of cutting him and giving him an injury settlement. Go back and read some articles about this kid and you’ll not only be convinced that he makes the team, but you’ll realize just how interesting (and strong) the ILB position is going to be for the Steelers.

  • cencalsteeler

    I agree. They have more time and money invested in Spence. If it was close between he and Garvin, the investment in Spence may be the deciding factor.
    I would still like to see him move eventually to ss and move Thomas to slot corner.

  • steeltown

    Lets not get ahead of ourselves. I agree, but only if he proves capable of playing week in and week out with no limitations.

  • Ben Saluri

    Guys like him are invaulable, makes other guys heal up alot faster. Makes it hard to sit out when u got a guy like him that came back from his knee.

  • ApexSteel

    According to some Jim Wexell reports that were on bleacher report Sean Spence “was impressive during offseason workouts, but it has not carried over into training camp” and he was “a bit of a long shot to earn playing time early in the season unless he flashes during the preseason” and he had “not stood out”

    So like I said, he needed work and two years of inactivity didn’t help that. We can only hope he is responsive to mental reps.


    He was a tweener coming out of college and he still is imo…on the question…from the early reports I’ve heard his leg appears to be fine…but until he’s back into contact football, we really won’t know if he’s capable of playing the in NFL.

    If he is…the speed will get him a slot on the 53.


    A bigger guy with the speed to cover the deep middle against these hybrid TEs is what I think they wanted from him and he looked the part until he got hurt…now Shazier looks to be a better version…not a lock, but if Spence has the health to play and the speed is there I don’t see them releasing him.

  • joed32

    Looking forward to seeing how he does in camp in a couple of weeks. OTAs didn’t have any contact.

  • srdan

    Sean spence will be on a roster somewhere. My prediciton is that he will be in Pittsburgh.

    I think that if we were talking about hte team we had 2-3 years ago he would be a lock due to the lack of depth. Today’s team is not that way. He has to bump someone like the article says.

    Personally, I’m pulling for him. I think he has a tenacity about him that was proven off the field, now if he could apply this on the field, the team would have another awesome football player.

  • Bradley Campbell

    Well I have no insight to what he lost from a physical standpoint but i do know this. There are people who learn to play LB and people who look like they were born to play LB. Spence was born to play LB -his read and react skills were far above average. He reminded me of Ray Lewis probably a step below athletically but the head for the game and the instincts. Go watch his film -awesome.

  • CW

    Personally, I believe if he’s healthy Spence should be a very good defensive player however they use them based on how he played in college.

    He was very fast and instinctive in his playing style during college and if his knee is healed he should be a solid player for the team.

    However that all depends on whether his knee is better and whether his football skills have degraded since the injury occurred.

  • cencalsteeler

    My thoughts exactly. Nice post. That’s why I don’t think a conversion to ss is out of reach, imo.

  • srdan

    Well written

  • Big White

    At this point I would have to say yes. It’s like a Texas Hold Em’ hand. The Steelers are already “pot committed”. You treat Spence like a rookie and start all over. These knee reconstructions are truly amazing these days. I look down at Thomas Davis in Carolina. Now, the Panthers took a bath on Davis initially, but he’s been a bond on that defense and that team because of his perseverance. The Steelers don’t nearly have to swallow the sword with Spence as the Panthers did with Davis, a former 1st rounder. This is why we have pre-season.

  • Richard Edlin

    Is he PS eligible?

  • If he is healthy and has anything near his old level of mobility, he has to be favored to beat out Zumwalt, who I am betting lands on the PS this year. But, like the article says, special teams is likely the difference.

  • I was thinking about that when he was first drafted, but with the injury now, I can’t see him having the mobility to play SS.

  • charles

    Unfortunately there was a large amount of buzz out of Batch and Redman from camp that did not translate to game day. The Steelers are smart to give him a shot after drafting him 3rd 2 yrs ago and that kind of loyalty is one of the greatest things about this org. However the team is reeaally deep at the LB slot and he will need to earn a chance. Anybody not rooting for this guy after the effort he has devoted should become a Ravens fan.

  • Louis Goetz

    I don’t know why Spence is being compared to the likes of Batch (7th rounder) and Redman (UFA). I know people were excited about Redman because of what he did on the goal line in training camp, but I don’t remember ever expecting anything out of Batch, who was always buried behind multiple RBs on the depth chart. Spence was drafted in the 3rd round with the idea that he’d eventually replace Foote. If he didn’t get hurt I seriously, seriously doubt that Shazier would’ve been drafted. There simply wouldn’t have been a need. So the Steelers will have 3 starting caliber ILBs with Timmons, Shazier and Spence, which is going to be a great problem to have.

  • charles

    Only because he (Batch) created a buzz in TC and then was injured before he had a chance to prove himself with the 1s. Of course Red Zone Redman seemed to be an answer to serious red zone scoring problems in both TC and preseason. Unfortunately fumblitis did him in at gametime speeds.

  • Ike Evans

    Youre looking at the wrong pics then….hes way bigger….i saw him in latrobe the year he was drafted and i saw him at the waterfront during otas a few weeks ago hes way bigger…upper body wise…couldnt really see his legs

  • Ike Evans

    Yes….he will make it….ppl just like to be pessimistic but every piece of evidence we have to this moment points to him making it. Its completely logical to be positive in this situation because he has surpassed every expectation point he has met so far. Training camp is next and we will see if he continues to trend upward or finally falter

  • Jacque Strappe

    He will make the team. He will finish the season as one of the better special teams contributors. That’s my prediction anyway.

  • Madi

    My guess: if he stays healthy through camp, he makes it. If he gets injured again – even an unrelated injury like a sprained ankle or dislocated shoulder – he’s gone. I have him making it. Can’t wait to see him on the field!

  • ApexSteel

    So basically what you’re saying and what that Jim Wexell report confirmed is exactly what I was saying. He was a third round pick who needed a lot of work and wasn’t close to being ready to contribute. Then he got injured and missed two years of physical reps which doesn’t help.

    When it come to being named Mr.OTAs that means about as much as playoff projections now. Isaiah Green and Adrian Robinson were two of Mark Kaboly’s OTA winners. It’s about how he does when the pads come on.

  • Labrat0116

    In case I’ve missed something, Spence has NO physical limitations.

    Spence has had (2) years of time to study, watch and learn LeBeu’s system, he just doesn’t have the physical work experience. I believe Spence’s talent can over come this and he makes the team.

  • johnhoien

    He will make it, Jordon z will not

  • The Dude

    Speed kills. If Spence still has that amazing closing speed he showed at Miami and in the preseason a couple years ago he’s a lock for the 53.