Instant Analysis Of The Steelers 10 Man Practice Squad

The Pittsburgh Steelers have now announced their initial 2014 practice squad players and here is quick break down of every one of them

DE Nick Williams - Williams, the Steelers seventh round draft pick from 2013, remains a project of defensive line coach John Mitchell. Williams lost his rookie season to a knee injury and really didn’t get much playing time during the preseason. The jury remains out on him for now and he will really be expected to make progress this season.

WR Derek Moye – After spending all of 2013 on the Steelers 53 man roster, Moye returns to the practice squad once again. Being as he is one of two wide receivers currently on the practice squad there’s a good chance he hangs around a while as long as he’s not poached by another team.

S Ross Ventrone – Ventrone has a lot of experience as far as being a practice squad player goes. He also plays every play like it’s his last and thankfully the rules of the practice squad changed a few weeks ago so that he could remain eligible for it. Depending on the numbers need, Ventrone might be bounced on and off all season. Regardless, it’s nice see his solid effort rewarded

CB Shaquille Richardson – The Steelers first of two fifth-round draft picks was slowed by a knee injury late in the preseason. He has a lot of developing to do moving forward with an eye on making the final 53 man roster next season. Richardson figures to be around a while and could wind up being promoted later on in the season.

TE Rob Blanchflower – The Steelers seventh-round draft pick finally showed his upside during the final two preseason games after finally getting over the sprained ankle he suffered early on in training camp. As long as he stays healthy, he should be around all season.

DE Josh Mauro – Mauro, one of the Steelers high priority undrafted free agents, needs to get stronger and work on his technique as the season progresses. After a nice training camp and preseason, he is now the 2014 version of Brian Arnfelt, who was waived last week.

LB Howard Jones – Jones, a converted small school defensive end, has a long road ahead of him. Outside of being around the football during the preseason and recovering fumbles, the Shepherd product really didn’t show much else. For now, Jones is the 2014 version of Alan Baxter, who was supposed to be the 2013 version of Adrian Robinson.

RB Josh Harris – Harris, who felt his former college coaches prevented him fro m getting drafted by smearing his character, joined the Steelers just after the start of training camp. He quickly scaled the depth chart and should get plenty of work as a scout team player early on in the season. With the Steelers only keeping three running backs on their 53 man roster, there’s a good chance Harris hangs around quite a while.

WR C.J. Goodwin - Goodwin, who was signed after a tryout after being recommended by Hall of Famer Mel Blount, didn’t play a single play on offense during the preseason. Hampered by a minor shoulder during training camp, Goodwin’s addition to the practice squad is confusing and looks like charity case. He figures to be the first player released should the team need the extra spot.

T Alejandro Villanueva – Villanueva, who was waived recently by the Philadelphia Eagles, looks like he will be converted to tackle after playing on the definitive side of the football during the preseason. Villanueva has a great back story as he was an Army Ranger captain who received the Bronze Star after serving three tours in Afghanistan. Villanueva moves well for a 6-foot-9, 290-pound player. The Steelers worked him out immediately after the Eagles waived him.

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • CW

    Goodwin was always a two year project.

  • SteelersDepot

    Ha. bet he doesn’t he last a season on the PS.

  • William Weaver

    You really think they would keep a player around on the practice squad as charity? A little harsh. Maybe they know something about him you don’t? Don’t see them wasting a spot.

  • SteelersDepot

    Like to bet whether or not he sticks there all season? Just calling a spade a spade. Goodwin doesn’t have very much upside at all. Also said “looks” like a charity guess.

  • CW

    Might not, but the point remains. He’s a smaller school project. He’s got good height. Decent hands. Good overall speed. If he can be coached up in a year or two he could take DHB’s spot on the roster.

    It’s a gamble, but with ten PS spots might as well work on a project player who could become a good possession wide receiver if everything works right and skip having to draft another prospect a year or two from now.

  • Brian Miller

    Beginning to think the writing is on the wall for N. Williams…

  • Brian Miller

    Is there any chance we try to get Barrett or Simon?

  • SteelersDepot

    both re-signed to practice squads of former teams

  • William Weaver

    I’ll take that bet. Mel Blount pick out a lot of players for the team to look at? Has to be a reason. Maybe never make it but not kept to be nice. Too business oriented.

  • Brian Miller

    Thanks…well that answers that.

  • Brian Miller

    I am glad we drafted Shazier and Tuitt, but man has Kelvin Benjamin looked good in preseason…

  • William Weaver

    If he last all year you have to get on here and say you were wrong and I was right. Lol if he gets cut I will donate to the site.

  • SteelersDepot

    fair enough, but you know he isn’t going to stick 17 weeks

  • William Weaver

    Oh well, I enjoy the site and podcast. Lol

  • 2443scott

    and no qb …..was landry born under a shineing star or what ….he will never be a backup let alone a starting one ..he will be on the inactive all season hopefully ….he already knows the play book so he wont get better there ….and there aint no fixing how he plays what a wasted spot on the roster….mauro would been better on his roster spot i bet he could throw it better too..

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I wasn’t going to bring it up again but since you did…

    I was one of those who thought (and still thinks) we should’ve traded down in the 1st round and selected Benjamin.

    I have watched each of his preseason games. He is already showing better hands than most people gave him credit for. He is getting better separation than people gave him credit for. And even when he is covered he is showing the ability to fight through contact and make plays.

    This is not a slam on Shazier. I think he’s the best LB we’ve drafted in a long long time. I just think Benjamin plus the additional draft pick (which we could’ve used on a CB) offered more value.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    This is a pretty solid practice squad (talent-wise). It will be intestine to see what Munchak does with Villanueva. I always like developmental guys with strong measureables who are willing to work hard (which I believe describes A.V.)

    Remember Kelvin Beachum is now our starting LT. Who’s to say Villanueva can’t show similar growth within 2 years?

    Same with Mauro. Remember how Keisel looked his first year? Very thin and very raw. But a lot of hustle. Mauro is much farther along right now IMO.

  • Jason White

    Wouldn’t be shocked if he doesn’t start the season on the practice squad. Plenty of receivers on the team and a waiver claim or veteran signing could certainly change things.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    I’m not going to get worked up about the PS, because it can change at any moment, depending on injuries which are certain to happen at some point. I would have liked for them to possibly find someone that could help in a pinch at CB or a couple of other spots, but here’s the biggest problem: Back in the spring I was saying how they should have drafted an OLB, even with a pretty high draft pick as we have no assurances that Worlds will even be around next year and JJ has not progressed enough.

    Fast forward to today, and the only logical backup is Moats. Garvin is not big or strong enough to play there, so what happens if they get into a predicament there? They call up Harrison and beg him to play, I guess. And next year could be even worse. “With their 1st round pick, the Pittsburgh Steelers select LB ——– ——.” This D absolutely needs to apply pressure from the outside, and I am definitely concerned. Let’s hope for the best and pray that master mind LeBeau has some real exotic plans.

  • RASTA

    I remember his high catch at beginning of camp…seemed to want to hide him after that imo, so he could clear waivers. Go Steelers!

  • Weiss Chad

    Do we know anything about him?I really don’t remember seeing him play much.i know his story but he didn’t seem to get many snaps and suprisingly seemed like he was buried on depth chart.I don’t understand Howard jones over so’oto either.I wouldn’t mind seeing ventrone sticking to the roster over the oldtimer Will Allen eventually.

  • Brian Miller

    I hear you Star…I was one of the people not sure about his hands and transition into the NFL, but he is definitely on the right track. He IS getting separation, I noticed that in preseason too. I am very happy we got Shazier and Tuitt, but our offense would be STOUT if we had Benjamin too!

  • Bvrsty

    upper or lower intestine? :-P (all in jest… er… ingest)

  • Billwatkins

    the see something or he wouldn’t be there. They are looking ahead and I would be too after this preseason.

  • Billwatkins

    We certainly needed a TE. Needed one Last year. Other than Miller their is fodder. Will they develop or draft talent????A lot of holes to fill. Right now its just bandaids.

  • marcus

    I like everyone except goodwin, really not sure why he was chosen. Haven’t heard anything about this kid all preseason. I wish they have chosen Molls over williams. IMO he will be a star in this league and he played way better then vince williams did.

  • marcus

    Yep, this will be his last chance, to impress and show some potential.

  • marcus

    Yes, amend.

  • joed32

    Dave’s blurb says he didn’t play any snaps in preseason.

  • Madi

    “Looks like a charity case” is basically the complete OPPOSITE of “Calling a spade a spade.” It’s a wild assumption.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Goodwin is not even the most surprising addition to the practice squad. If I was going to speculate one of these guys was a charity case (which I wouldn’t), it’d be the war hero that was only on the team for like 5 minutes, which he spent playing defense, before being signed to play offense.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Plus, William Weaver’s post was respectful and valid, and your only response was an aggressive and condescending change of topic. Would you like to bet you think about this awhile and then backpedal, and maybe even apologize? I wouldn’t.

  • Madi

    Couldn’t disagree more about Molls. I think they made the right choice.

  • Steelers12328882

    I actually think it’s pretty accurate. Only reason he was on the team was because of Mel. The one person on the PS that doesn’t seem to belong is Goodwin. If you don’t agree with that you’re standing along the minority. You make quite the assumption yourself in saying Villanueva is a charity. He was never on the team(even for 5 minutes), but he did log 3 productive weeks on defense for the Eagles. He has way more upside considering he was a team captain in college and played LT, DE and WR there after being recruited as a TE. In fact I’d go as far as saying he’s the most intriguing prospect we have on the PS.

  • treeher

    I thought about TE when I saw his size.

  • treeher

    Without having a good reason to put him there – and I can’t think of one – I think it’s fair to guess charity case.

  • Madi

    Right about Villanueva not even being on the team for a minute. Guess I got him mixed up with someone else.
    ~~~~~~~~
    Wrong about everything else. Try reading my post again, because that’s not what I said.

  • Steelers12328882

    I only made 2 points. Villanueva is really intriguing and Goodwin is lucky he knows Mel. Of course it’s speculation about Goodwin, but I doubt you could prove me wrong lol.

  • Steelers12328882

    Yeah not sure he’s every logged snaps at TE, but he was semi-productive at WR as a Senior, and he started an entire year at LT. That says TE to me too. Either way he’s got some potential.

  • keth Naab

    shame the Ranger can’t catch, a 6’9, 290ish TE would be a helluva nice target if he had hands :)

  • Madi

    Of course I can’t prove you wrong, but I’m not the one speculating. You can’t possibly prove yourself right, either.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I don’t disagree about Goodwin being a surprise. And I’m not saying he was the best choice. And I don’t doubt he only got his foot in the door by knowing Blount. But there are two possibilities here: The Steelers liked something they saw in Goodwin during his time here and thought he was worth a spot on the practice squad, or the Steelers are so worried about hurting Goodwin’s and Blount’s feelings that they sacrificed a perfectly good PS spot and hurt some other guy’s feelings instead.

    One of those just seems like a much bigger leap than the other.

  • DoctorNoah

    Show me a team that isn’t in the same situation though. Even Super Bowl teams. To be honest, most 12-4 Patriots teams over the past several years have looked like a cobbled together ragtag bunch with holes everywhere. Similarly a lot of teams have minimal depth at multiple positions and sport relative nobodies at multiple positions. AND lots of teams that seem to load themselves up with multiple marquee names (Redskins, Jets, Cowboys, just as an example) are always falling apart at the seams.

    Just saying. I think there’s more anguished hand wringing and criticism at this stage in the season than there should be, even given the last two seasons. Multiple teams last year would have loved to have been 8-8.

  • DoctorNoah

    I agree that we are thin here. I am really hoping that LeBeau has adapted already by letting our D-line, seemingly stronger and more able to penetrate, do just that, employng more stunts and hybrid fronts, and bringing pressure from multiple angles, thus lessening reliance on 3-4 OLB’s rushing the passer

  • DoctorNoah

    Disagree. Vince was all over the field, was visibly aggressive, was a tackling monster, and showed not only a nose for the ball but the ability to cover and actually be far more of a 3-down backer than he did last year?

  • DoctorNoah

    Maybe he can. Ironman football: he can play both sides of the ball. Tomlin loves position flexibility: tackle, TE, DE. Can the guy punt? :)

  • Zumwalt Fan Club

    He lead Army in receiving in 2009. So he can catch a bit.

  • John Hinton

    Dave – Where did Dan Molls land?

  • Matthew Suloman

    they can be signed to our active roster…

  • Matthew Suloman

    yep coulda had Lawrence or marcus smith with the trade down

  • John Fraraccio

    I can figure all save for Goodwin and Villanueva. Still, it’s called a PRACTICE squad for a reason. (Agreed, “charity case” is harsh and not indicative.) We’ll find out as the season treks forward…

  • http://suspect5.bandcamp.com/ HardPunkKore

    Very well said, couldn’t agree more.

  • charles

    The reciever part seems amazing a 6’9″ target could be Bens dream. I agree with you that he is interesting.

  • WilliamSekinger

    Rex Grossman anyone? Just cut by Brownies. Vet that actually has a chance to win a game as 3rd QB.

  • charles

    How about that crazy formation called 4-3? Heyward, Maclendon, McKullers and Tuitt. Forget the hybrid formations opt for EXTREME simplicity thus allowing rookies to contribute and possibly JJ too.

  • charles

    Williams is a better option and in a 4-3 could anchor the middle while Timmons Shazier Spence and JJ give us speed on the edges

  • Louis Goetz

    Aren’t you the same guy who just yesterday was criticizing the team, its defense and its coaches, calling the defense a total mystery to you after four weeks of bland pre-season football?

  • DoctorNoah

    The defense is definitely a mystery to me, and other than a few new looks here and there (see for example the big nickel post a few days ago), I get the impression that most of LeBeau’s tricks are still up his sleeve and much of the bland preseason was spent auditioning backups with vanilla defenses and basic situational football. What I said yesterday was that what LeBeau and Tomlin are thinking about and planning with regards to how our linebackers are used is not obvious based on what we’ve seen. That’s not a criticism, or it wasn’t meant to be, though I see how it could be construed that way.

    What I said today is that I don’t think we need to be as nervous as we are.

  • Louis Goetz

    I’ve been an FSU fan my whole life, so I’m a big, big Vince Williams fan. That said, his preseason was so disappointing that I was surprised he made the team. He played 98 snaps on defense and 26 on special teams over a span of four games. He failed to register a single tackle on special teams and was in on only 10 tackles while on defense. 4 of the 10 plays in which he made a tackle resulted in a 1st down, he had no tackles for loss, and four yards was the shortest gain he allowed. The average gain for a ball carrier stopped by Vince was 7.2 yards. On top of that, half of his tackles came in a single game (against the Giants) and during the second half when the incumbent starter was facing back-ups. As for having a nose for the ball, he registered a single assist the entire preseason. Until he gets things turned around I’ll be glad he’s backing up Timmons who rarely needs to be spelled or gets injured.

  • DoctorNoah

    He looked like he knew where to be. More than that I can’t say and defer to you. I would much rather have Timmons, no doubt about that.

  • Steelers12328882

    …or 10 PS players is way too much, so why not give a charity chance to this kid? BTW, every post on here is speculation. We’re fans. That’s what we do lol.

  • Steelers12328882

    Right. If not at WR or TE then how about throwing up to a Tackle eligible?

  • Steelers12328882

    That’s who we have in Gradkowski.

  • Steelers12328882

    34 rec 522 yds and 5 tds as a Senior at Army back in 2009.

  • Milliken Steeler

    Disagree X 10

  • BFB

    Beachum was serviceable but had some bad play along with the good. We still need a true starting LT. Beachum has over achieved but he is not the long term answer. Short arms, mediocre athleticism, along with being a “smallish” LT causes him to have trouble with the elite pass rushers of the league.
    Not ripping Beachum here, just saying we can do better. Our long term LT is not on the team right now unless Adams has some sort of awakening.

  • BFB

    You sound like a Browns fan with the touchy feely post…. I did not see it as aggressive or condescending but maybe you are more sensitive…..

  • NinjaMountie

    I’d pick up Keenum from Houston. Leaps and bounds better than L Jones and still young and mobile.

  • BFB

    Glad you took his reply better than your benefactor above.
    Maybe they know of extenuating circumstances that make the kid a good bet. I don’t think the Steelers do “charity”. Otherwise James Harrison would have been here last year without taking a pay cut!

  • William Weaver

    There could be something to this kid. I don’t know but Blount has to see something. If it were just a favor then being given a chance in training camp pays that in full. To stick to the practice squad shows some ability.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Your right there has to be something that the Steelers see in Goodwin to give him a practice spot. Maybe the fact that they have 2 extra PS spots gives them the luxury of taking a chance on Goodwin that they might not have done with only 8 spot.

  • Douglas Andrews

    He was a project coming in and missing all of last year was a major setback. We’ll see how he does next year he got a PS pass this year.

  • SteelCitysFinest

    Let’s be honest here, its the practice squad and 99.99999999% of them will never see an NFL field unless a serious domino effect of injuries occur.

  • Madi

    Well I certainly learned not to call out the Steelers Depot mods around here, no matter how little sense they make. I give. The Steelers do not value PS spots. You sound like a Steelers fan, using the word “sensitive” as an insult. But maybe you’re right. Hell, I wish I was stupid enough for stuff like that to go over my head.

  • Terrible Towlie

    Williams did fine against the other team’s scrubs when he got a chance…another huge fast DL…get ready for the switch to 4-3 next year….Tomlin has his Derrick Brooks now (Shazier)

  • Terrible Towlie

    Simon for Ljones sounds good to me, we either kept only 3 OLB’s to sign some one else’s or we’re gonna be switchin to 4-3 next year (Worlds not signed past this year)…Maybe they plan on using Keisel at OLB some, LeBeau has always wanted to

  • Terrible Towlie

    I was all for trading back into the 1st this year, especially as good as this draft was talent wise and possible lack of talent next year as lots of underclassmen declared

  • Terrible Towlie

    I am of the thinking his “smallish size” at LT is a plus as he faces mostly speed rushers, who he is plenty big enough to take
    short arms, not super athlete…big deal, he knows how to play football and can play and play well

  • Terrible Towlie

    Adams is a RT and played well there his rookie year…I think moving him around set him back, they should have not tried to fix what wasn’t broke

  • Terrible Towlie

    totally agree, LJones did nothing to earn a spot, and after watching Kay it was as if they didn’t want to give him his chance earlier to not make Ljones look as bad, at least Kay had a much closer to NFL quality arm and better pocket presence

  • Terrible Towlie

    I just hope we don’t lose a player like Mauro because we kept Ljones, I also thought So’oto earned at least a PS spot….especially since we only kept 3 OLB’s

  • Terrible Towlie

    yes, and I”m not so sure signing an aging DL who looks like he’s never seen a weight room was the right thing to do during a youth movement…maybe we only kept 3 OLB’s since Peezy is on the staff only 2 seasons removed……isn’t it sick, we could have had Porter and Harrison out there at the same time but kept marching out mediocre at best Haggans because of reluctance of playing young players….good thing he busted that dudes lip open before the stain game

  • Weiss Chad

    Ty just was going through the names

  • HecklerSpray

    Did Seastrunk get on the Redskins’ practice squad? I believe we saw him at his pro day or had some other meeting with him. The depth at RB is bad, and I didn’t see a good back up running back at all after Bell and Blount in the preseason.

  • joed32

    He’s available.

  • RASTA

    imho it looks like that’s the personal we will have to start next season with. Lebeau retires, hopefully on top, and Porter moves into Butler’s spot, and Keith finally gets a chance to put his own new mark on the Steelers D! 4-3 w/ track-like fast football players being coached up by ex-Steeler All-Pro’s….what’s not to like? Go Steelers!

  • BFB

    Agree on the RT position for Adams. problem is we have two RTs right now and one Guard masquerading as a LT. You need long arms with speed rushers and Adams actually has the biggest wingspan on that line. I know how to play football too but got beat by fast and athletic DTs when playing tackle due to lack of athleticism and wingspan. Beachum works hard and I am not knocking him. We do need a true LT though. Watch the next draft. I think the Steelers will use a high pick to grab one this year.

  • BFB

    Was not trying to run you down and the worst insult I threw out was you sounding like a Browns fan. I retract that. low blow. Keep rooting for the black and gold citizen. We all live in Steeler Nation!
    Peace!

  • Steven Vincent

    Re: Moye how can he get “poached” by another team if he is signed to the practice squad? Confused on that point.

  • Steven Vincent

    Not sure what a guy has to do to make a roster if Vic So’oto’s performance doesn’t even merit getting signed to the practice squad and nobody picked him up off the waiver wire. Given our total lack of depth at OLB I think it’s outrageous that we gave his spot to Goodwin.

  • SteveM2

    Anyone on any NFL practice squad roster can be signed by any other NFL team, as one of their 53-man players.

  • keth Naab

    well good heavens, let’s get the guy in on some tackle-eligible!

  • Slab

    Takes 2 to tango. If everyone thinks the value is in the back of the first round, why would a team give up a back of the first round pick plus another pick to move up to 15. The trade chart would call for 1,2, and 3 to move from 28 to 15. If the roles were reversed, would you be happy if the Steelers made that move. For illustrative purposes, that would be like the Steelers trading their #1, #2, and #3- Shazier, Tuitt, and Archer- to move up to #6 for Jake Matthews, Mike Evans or Justin Gilbert. Personally, I’m happier with the 3 players they drafted…..

  • Slab

    this.

    Add in the fact that if you have a franchise QB in a non-rookie contract. You are going to have a huge chunk of the salary cap taken up. Can’t look at the Seahawks roster and compare it to the Steelers until they resign Wilson. Until then, they have millions more to spend on positions other than QB than the Steelers do. Russell Wilson cap hit- $800k, Ben cap hit- $19 million. So Seahawks have $18 million more dollars to spend across the roster than the Steelers do. Look at the hit the Ravens depth took after they had to resign Flacco.