Analysis Of The Steelers Six Afternoon Roster Cuts

The Pittsburgh Steelers waived an additional six players Tuesday afternoon and here is a look at each of them.

Hebron Fangupo – If you followed the training camp reports filed by our very own Alex Kozora, the early waiving of Fangupo probably isn’t a huge surprise to you. Fangupo almost instantly was running behind rookie Daniel McCullers right from the start. On top of that, Fangupo played all of 22 snaps in the first three preseason games and that certainly wasn’t a good sign for him. With it looking like McCullers is a lock to make the final 53 man roster, Fangupo had no shot. He’s already 29 years-old to boot.

Brian Arnfelt – At this time last year, many fans were worrying that Arnfelt wouldn’t make it to the practice squad if waived during the final cut-down. He made it without any issues and stayed on the eight man unit all season until promoted for the last few games due to injuries on the defensive line. What a difference a year makes as undrafted free agent Josh Mauro has now become this year’s Arnfelt. You could tell something was amiss during the Steelers first preseason game against the New York Giants when Arnfelt was running with the third-team defense behind Mauro and Ethan Hemer. That rotation stayed the same the next week against the Buffalo Bills. In total, Arnfelt played 40 third-team snaps in the first two preseason games. I expected him to hang around to the final cut, but the Steelers decided to let him go a few days early. We’ll see if they bring him back to the 10 man practice squad.

Luke Ingram – We still hardly know you, Luke. The Steelers obviously didn’t feel the need to carry two extra long snappers for the final week of the preseason and chose to keep Bryce Davis until Greg Warren is completely healthy. Davis can also play some tight end so perhaps that played into the decision as well. Maybe this is a sign that Warren will be ready for the season opener after all.

Tauren Poole – Poole was given a lot of opportunities to impress on special teams early on in the preseason, but outside of forcing a muffed punt as an upback, that’s about all he really did. He carried the ball eight times for 24 yards and sat out the third preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles with a hamstring injury.

Chris Elkins – With backup Cody Wallace currently sidelined by a finger injury, rookie draft pick Wesley Johnson has been serving as the backup behind starter Maurkice Pouncey. While Elkins can play some guard, the team is obviously more comfortable with Chris Hubbard and Will Simmons to close out the preseason. Elkins pretty much just got caught up in the numbers crunch. He played all of nine snaps during the preseason and they all came in the first game against the Giants.

Emmanuel McCray – It would have been a huge surprise if McCray made it past Tuesday as he didn’t see any snaps on the offensive line during the first three preseason games. I doubt he’s a candidate for the practice squad as well. If you ever need a definition of a training camp body, McCray is it.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    The Arnfeld mystery continues. Last year he had me all excited, making plays like those maniacs from the 1970’s at times. Then this past winter we hear about how dedicated he has become, getting even stronger and that we should really look out for him (I think one of their other linemen said that). Then summer comes around and he’s nowhere to be found. He has to have had some problems understanding his assignments or something. What else could it be? Has he become weaker?

    Oh, well. Hopefully Mauro can make something of himself as he certainly looks capable right now.

    And I also thought Vic So’oto deserved to stick around. I guess he did not do enough on ST because he was given some chances. This makes me wish the rosters were bigger, as you could keep more younger guys, but still keep the ST studs. And there are usually so many injuries league-wide. I wonder if it’s being considered.

  • 2443scott

    i agree with you on a bigger roster at least 5 more players ..partly because of what you said because so many injuries around league…

  • Madi

    Gee, it’s ALMOST like keeping a 28 year old with few skills and no potential to improve instead of the 24 year old rookie with a mountain of potential you traded up for wasn’t the smart move! Who’da thunk it?

  • steeltown

    Agree about Arnfelt and his offseason work, Heyward mentioned months back that he and Arnfelt had been training/working out together and he was looking improved. He must have struggled in OTAs and camp drills with technique and assignment. But, Mauro has looked pretty damn good and has done more in his first preseason than Arnfelt did in his.

    The So’oto situation just ticks me off, I sure hope they consider signing him to the practice squad because even if we keep HoJo, he’s raw so the depth behind Worilds, Jones and Moats remains non-existent

  • srdan

    A lot of these cuts i had penciled in. I was more surprised by the earilier group of So’oto and Dangerfield.

  • Craig M

    The difficult intangible of the maturity factor, sometimes a team just thrusts out to the front from one year to another just because of this.

  • Agreed. It would be great to see Arnfelt and So’oto on the PS. Hard to see one of them really breaking through at this point, but you never know.

    As for roster size, I’d like to see a few more as well, at least 55, maybe as much as 58. But of course we’d still be having pretty much the same discussions/debates, just about a slightly lower caliber of players. I just think that if there isn’t going to be a real developmental league akin to hockey/baseball/basketball, there should be more opportunities for guys to stick around and show what they’ve got.

  • BFB

    One way to look at Arnfeldt’s situation. The D line has been a bit below the line since Smith/Hoke/Hampton departed. Hayward/Mac/Ziggy were the best we could field as a first string. In relation, Arnfeldt looked good for a rookie and everyone looked for him to develop and get into the rotation at some point.
    Ziggy is gone and the Steelers are 75% there (I’m convinced) on acknowledging Mac is not the perfect Nose Tackle for this 3/4 Defense. He is there for now until he can be “repositioned” to DE> McCullers looks like he may be in contention for “steal of the draft” by making the team. Hemer and Mauro apparently outplayed and “out talented” Arnfeldt.
    Maybe the organization deserves some credit for an overall upgrade of the available talent along the D line. A year ago Arnfeldt was somewhat of a darling among Steeler Nation and now he was beat out by two younger prospects. Smells like progress to me. Go Steelers!

  • steeltown

    Agreed. There is going to be growing pains with the youth movement, but it is a necessary part of this game, transition. It appears we have greatly upgraded the DL position(s) when you sit back and look at it on paper. Time will tell but the pedigree and athleticism is evident.

    Tuitt, Thomas, McCullers, Mauro > Hood, Woods, Fangupo, Arnfelt