Steelers Seem Set On Their 53-Man Roster Selections

When the Pittsburgh Steelers released their 53-man roster for the first time, it raised some eyebrows, offering surprises about whom they chose to cut, whom they chose to keep, and how many players at certain positions made the team.

Many were expecting to see some changes made soon after through the waiver wire or with other late signings. There seemed to be an increase in the usage of the phrase “initial 53-man roster”, accordingly, assuming it would be different in short order.

But it doesn’t seem as though change is coming. It seems, rather, that the Steelers were able to put together the roster that they wanted, in terms of assembling the best 53 players.

That means keeping six wide receivers in addition to a running back/wide receiver hybrid. That means keeping 11 total defensive backs. And that means carrying only three true outside linebackers, with a fifth inside linebacker capable of moving over in a pinch.

That also means, evidently, that second-year former undrafted free agent offensive lineman Chris Hubbard is expected to stick, much unlike John Malecki a year ago, who made the final 53-man roster before being replaced through waivers by Cody Wallace.

Another waiver pickup from a year ago, Antwon Blake, remains with the team, while the cornerback that he bumped to the practice squad, Isaiah Green, is gone, despite the Steelers carrying two extra defensive backs on the practice squad.

Head coach Mike Tomlin talked about “Mother” Hubbard in his press conference yesterday, describing the former practice squad player as “bigger, stronger, faster”, and praising his mental improvement in terms of understanding the game.

Hubbard beat out veteran offensive lineman Guy Whimper for a roster spot this year. Whimper spent all of 2013 with the Steelers, starting at both guard positions and playing everywhere but center during in-game situations.

The extra wide receivers and cornerbacks, it was believed, were influenced by the late injuries suffered by Martavis Bryant and Brice McCain. The Steelers added cornerback B.W. Webb off waivers the day before the final roster was set, and he was on it as a sixth corner.

The assumption was that his addition was a response to McCain’s groin injury, but as McCain told the media, he was able to work through individual drills in practice this week and believes that he will play on Sunday.

While Bryant did not participate in practice, Tomlin said yesterday that he will “leave the light on” for Bryant in terms of participating in the season opener, which is certainly a much more positive view than some speculation that suggested he could miss several weeks.

That also suggests that the numbers the Steelers chose to keep likely weren’t influenced much at all by the aforementioned injuries, and that they simply believed the position itself and the available talent made in the team’s best interests to stock up on receivers and defensive backs.

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

    I truly believe the Webb signing was just icing on the cake for Tomlin and staff, they wanted him a year ago and now they have him. Maybe he works out, maybe he doesn’t but at this point why not kick the tires. We know next year Ike will be gone and McCain is merely a stop gap player so we need to replenish the CB numbers by any means necessary. I for one hope he excels in our scheme.

  • Chad H

    I don’t know. One was cut by another team and the other went to the PS. I see us using a top 3 pick on a CB next year. Maybe one can make a push for playing time only time will tell.

  • steeltown

    Yes but they’re both still young and Richardson was injured so we didn’t see much from him. How many times have we seen guys that were previously cut and or practice squad bodies make something of themselves… I agree though we will probably be selecting a CB in the early Rds next year, Ike and WillieG wont be around forever and as mentioned McCain is probably stop gap

  • fred thomas

    Easy to look good amongst mediocrity

  • Ben Saluri

    Would hope they would give QB Ryan Griffin a look. The Saints sandbagged him by just relasing him yesterday in hopes to put on there PS. The Steelers had him in for a pre draft visit last year but of course chose Landry in the 4th.

  • RASTA

    So why Landry Jones?! Do they have a feeling someone else would take him off the PS? Go Steelers!

  • Douglas Andrews

    Interesting when you look at the OLB situation with only 3 true OLB’s. Hey Matthew do you think the Steelers looked at last season’s amount of situational football and decided that they may end up playing a lot of big nickel this year so why keep an extra OLB (Chris Carter) who wasn’t going to play much anyway? Or maybe they figured Carter had reached his ceiling and they have other guys on the roster that could play ST’s just as well if not better?

  • Douglas Andrews

    Too bad we couldn’t pluck another CB prospect in this past draft. You can’t fill every need but if we don’t resign Allen we’ll be running out some average CB’s and hoping that the pass rush can make up for them. Maybe the combo of Webb and Richardson can step so we’ll see.

  • Matthew Marczi

    That’s what Ed Bouchette wrote the day before cutdowns, at least.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I think it could be a little bit of both, plus a fair bit of faith in Moats, and in Garvin contributing as a rusher in an emergency. I suppose you could also factor in the added blitzing ability from Shazier and Mitchell, as well as having Jones on the practice squad of course.

  • RASTA

    …and how would that be a bad thing? It must be a “money invested already” type thing. I would think that Terrell Pryor has shown more than enough to be our #3, especially if that guy Has To stay on the 53…put Jones up for a 7th rounder like Mallett and grab Pryor…done deal. Go Steelers!