Marczi: 53-Man Roster Prediction – Third Preseason Game Edition

After having reviewed the tape from the Pittsburgh Steelers’ third preseason game, here are my predictions for the 53-man roster as it currently stands. Note that the last several spots can change dramatically in the final preseason game, which is often largely dedicated to eking out those last few roster spot battles.

Quarterback (3): Ben Roethlisberger, Bruce Gradkowski, Landry Jones

Gradkowski solidified his position as the backup quarterback with his performance against the Eagles last week. I’m very close to leaving Jones off the list, but am waiting to see what he does in the last preseason game, because I think the Steelers are waiting too. If the Steelers need to carry an extra long snapper to start the season, it may be his spot bumped to the practice squad for a week or two until Warren is ready.

Running Back (4): Le’Veon Bell, LeGarrette Blount, Dri Archer, Will Johnson

None of the other backs have shown anything of note that would demand being kept on the 53-man roster. Several of them will battle for a roster squad spot in the next game. the Steelers could pick up a back off of waivers.

Wide Receiver (6): Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Lance Moore, Martavis Bryant, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Justin Brown

If it’s not Jones’ spot, it will probably be Justin Brown’s sacrificed to carry an extra long snapper if it comes to that, but that depends on how he performs in the last game after disappointing so far in game action.

Tight End (3): Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth, David Paulson

Paulson is still the incumbent for the third tight end spot, but the other tight ends should get plenty of work this week to make a final determination. However, I don’t believe Paulson played at all in the last game. I’m not sure what they means.

Offensive Line (9): Kelvin Beachum, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Marcus Gilbert, Cody Wallace, Mike Adams, Guy Whimper, Wesley Johnson

Whimper sticks around because there’s just nobody else at tackle. Johnson has shown that he can contribute in the interior as a rookie, but will need to get stronger in year two to be a backup tackle.

Defensive Line (6): Brett Keisel, Steve McLendon, Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Daniel McCullers, Cam Thomas

Probably not any surprises here. It seems like the Steelers will carry McCullers no matter what and allow him to work through his struggles in a redshirt season. Mauro likely is headed for the practice squad with Keisel back.

Linebacker (9): Jarvis Jones, Ryan Shazier, Lawrence Timmons, Jason Worilds, Arthur Moats, Sean Spence, Vince Williams, Chris Carter, Terence Garvin

Carter is hanging on by a thread, as the other two OLBs should get plenty of reps in the final game to state their case. Garvin is too valuable to not make the roster.

Cornerback (5): Ike Taylor, Cortez Allen, William Gay, Antwon Blake, Brice McCain

Shaquille Richardson will need to have an Allen-like final preseason game to make the roster. Blake and McCain are both significant special teams contributors.

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

No reason to pass up on any of these five, unless Jordan Dangerfield can compel the coaching staff to let Allen go in the last preseason game.

Special Teams (3): Shaun Suisham, Greg Warren, Brad Wing

Wing will make the final roster, but only because he’s the only one there. It may not be long before he’s replaced. I’m working under the assumption that Warren will be ready for the season. The Steelers could cut him and re-sign him after week two if he’s not ready.

Practice Squad (10): Stephen Houston, Kashif Moore, Rob Blanchflower, Chris Hubbard, Nick Williams, Josh Mauro, Jordan Zumwalt, Shaquille Richardson, Isaiah Green, Howard Jones

There are some raw talent prospects on this list, such as Williams, Houston, and Jones. Three of the rookies get a redshirt year on the practice squad. Green and Moore make it for special teams potential. Hubbard is the best of the rest.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • RW

    I like it.

  • Rubem Dornas

    Our CB roster is awful.

    I can’t handle seeing Chris Carter’s name anymore.

  • steeltown

    I like this roster.

    Although with McL, C.Thomas and McCullers all on roster im not keeping Fangupo on the PS, replace him with So’oto or Dangerfield… or replace Carter altogether with So’oto {fingers crossed}

  • DefSoulMode

    Landry Jones should not make the 53 man roster period. He offers this team nothing at the QB position.

  • Steelers12328882

    I like this prediction a lot, except I’m still holding out hope that Blanchflower has a chance for the 3rd TE spot, and I also think Chris Carter displayed on Thursday why he’s the worst player on this team that has a chance of actually making this team. Too bad there’s probably no one to push him off the team. One other problem is if Warren isn’t ready then I think you can easily cut Will Allen.

  • steeltown

    I’d cut L.Jones before W.Allen

  • Game_Time

    Howard Jones on the 53…. Landry Jones on the PS and Chris Carter on the streets

  • Steelers12328882

    You and probably everybody else, but there’s 3 players I’m hoping step up this next game and secure a roster spot. Landry, Blanchflower and anyone capable of taking Chris Carter’s spot. I think our backup Safeties are good. Shark is starter capable and I’ve done a 180 on Golden and thought he’s played really well this preseason. If those 2 are capable of coming in and they both play special teams than what’s the point of keeping Allen?

  • cencalsteeler

    I’d switch Palmer for Paulson and everything else looks good, Matt!

  • steeltown

    I’d keep Allen because I believe Shamarko is first off the bench at nickel CB should WillieG go down with injury. I look at Thomas as the #2 SS and #2 nickel CB so having W.Allen’s ability to backup both safety spots has value

  • Paddy

    There will be several cuts from other teams I predict, at CB TE DL

  • dgh57

    I’m still holding onto the hope that H. Jones or So’oto can push for a roster spot over Carter. They both should get plenty of playing time as the final preseason game is the final chance for the young players to show what they got. Same with Blanch and Waters over Paulson at TE.

  • Zurich1012

    Cris Carter, Landry Jones, David Paulson, Shaquille Richardson, Will Allen, Antwon Black and McCain shouldn’t be on this team. I am sick of Carter and Jones the most and Jarvis Jones is moving into that category as well.

    Jones not have the upper body strength to play outside linebacker. The Steelers coaching staff needs to take an out of the box look at Jones and realize now that they had better find ways to use his speed in other ways other than trying to compete against Tackles. I have watched so much film on him that its actually depressing to see a guy that reminds me so much of Defensive End Aaron Jones in that they both are significantly inadequate players. Jones can be effective but will never be an that as an outside backer. At this point Clark Haggans would be a major upgrade. If the Steelers cannot find an effective pass rush it will be a very long season on defense.

  • NW86

    Is it just me, or is the competition a little weaker for the 53 this year? In the past it has seemed like there weren’t enough spots on the roster for all the deserving players. This year, it seems like there aren’t enough deserving players to fill 53 spots…

  • CW

    I like most of this roster prediction.

    Wonder if the last week of the season before the trade deadline, the Steelers could make an offer of a later round pick (4th or 5th, maybe 6th) for Sam Bradford. He’s a potential starter at quarterback with a history of injury issues who might never be able to play a full season but could spend ten years as a capable backup and spot starter for a team. Immediately put him on IR and move on with Big Ben and Bradford next year as starter and backup while looking for a developmental talent in the draft.

  • T R

    my 53 exactly… with Landry Jones being put on practice squad after 4th preseason game and with pick up a straggler from someone else cuts to replace him.. not sure who that is yet. LOL

  • SR88

    I was thinking the exact same thing. I remember when they had to worry about cutting players and sneaking them to practice squad, but really anyone picked up by another team this year is no loss. We will be looking at other teams that are trying to squeeze guys to practice squad to fill roster I believe.

  • Steelers12328882

    I think they’re moving Shark away from that role. Just speculating, but Gay is the nickel CB and then you have McCain another slot CB who I think should easily make the 53.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Interesting. I figure QB jones will be safe on the PS. And although he’s the best blocking WR, I also think Justin Brown is very safe there. And With Dri there, they will not need 6 WR’s unless the injury bug hits. Keep in mind that there was an absolute deluge of WR’s that came out in this past draft so there will be some big names potentially on the final cut day. Which brings me to the next point:

    I would keep Vic So’oto on the 53 and let Chris Carter finally go. There might even be a LB or CB, DL or OL out there that they want after those cuts are made. And it seems sad to say, but even Whimper needs to stay for now. Lord help us. Stranger things have happened, but the Super Bowl does not seem in reach once again this year. Even last year I wanted them to move on and get the young guys some work, and now they may have to suffer some more pain. We shall see.

  • Tammie Sherrell Hill

    And hope he take Adams with him

  • Tammie Sherrell Hill

    And take adams with him

  • Louis Goetz

    I’d keep Howard Jones over Terrance Garvin. Timmons and Shazier are the starters at ILB, with Spence and Williams backing them up. Two of them would have to get hurt before Garvin would see any significant time. Meanwhile, the depth at OLB is a lot thinner, HoJo has more upside than Garvin (who’s been beaten out twice now in as many years), and he’s been great on special teams. If I just had to keep Garvin, for whatever reason, I’d send Landry Jones to the practice squad to make room for him. Gradkowski showed us Thursday night that the Steelers won’t need to make any decisions if Ben goes down, and no one is going to poach Landry Jones.

  • Louis Goetz

    I understand that no one is thrilled with Mike Adams, but who do you keep over him? He’s certainly better than Will Simmons and Emmanuel McCray, both of whom have a very likely chance of becoming unemployed as early as tomorrow. Adams is one of the top nine lineman we have right now, even if he is just another statistic in the ever increasing number of high draft picks that didn’t pan out.

  • Craig M

    Bring back Harrison for quality outside depth instead of carrying Carter, look to cut day to find replacements for Allen, Whimper and Adams. And I would keep Paulson his upside is he knows the system well and has good hands.

  • superfan

    I don’t see a reason to keep C. Carter anymore. Moats is a capable backup at both OLB spots, and So’oto or Jones have more potential. Plus, James Harrison will probably be out there in the event that either Worilds or J. Jones goes down with an injury.

    I’m not a guy who thinks Harrison should have been resigned, but I think he’d be a better option than Carter at this point. So, at OLB, I’d cut Carter, keep So’oto, and have Harrison on speed dial.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I do not see why no one has us with more HB’s? We only have 2 on the roster. Archer is a hybrid and Johnson is a FB. I think Blanchflower is making a hard run at Paulson. Paulson IMO is still the guy but wouldnt be shocked if Blanchflower over takes him in the last game.

  • Tammie Sherrell Hill

    If he is one of the top 9 linemen we have then that’s really not saying too much about our linemen. That’s just like saying Landry jones is one of our top four qbs they can find somebody that’s better once cuts come around same goes for carter

  • Dave Bradley

    why are the steelers so dead set against in drafting top tier cb’s? I know this years 5th round pick was a db.