Bryan: 2017 Steelers 53-Man Roster Prediction: Post First Preseason Game Edition

The Pittsburgh Steelers played their first preseason game of 2017 Friday night and that gave me a chance to finally get a good look at several new players. With that first preseason game now behind us, it’s time for me to update my 53-man roster prediction.

Moving forward from here, I will post a new 53-man prediction following each and every Steelers preseason game just as I do every year.

As usual, I invite all readers to add their own 53-man roster predictions in the comments below. At the very least, let me know which players on my list that you think won’t ultimately make the final 53 and why.

Offense (24)

Quarterbacks (3)Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones, Joshua Dobbs

Analysis: Nothing new to see here and it will remain that way as long as all three are healthy come Week 1. One would think Jones should be back from his abdominal strain soon.

Running Backs (3)Le’Veon Bell, Knile Davis, James Conner

Analysis: Conner figures to be back at full capacity this week. As for the battle between Davis and Fitzgerald Toussaint, while I’m rooting for the latter, I have no reason to predict him over Davis just yet. Both looked fine in pass protection Friday night but kind of pedestrian running the football. Could Terrell Watson wind up jumping both of them?

Fullbacks (1)Roosevelt Nix

Analysis: Nix played very few snaps Friday night and that was to be expected. Here’s to him doing the same the rest of the preseason as the Steelers need him fresh and healthy come Week 1.

Wide Receivers (6)Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Eli Rogers, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Sammie CoatesJustin Hunter

Analysis: Neither Coates (PUP) nor Hunter (undisclosed) played in the preseason opener. The same goes for Demarcus Ayers. The six players above are the same six I had in my last prediction and I’ll stick with them this week. Cobi Hamilton had two big catches Friday night and a special teams tackle but with that said, I still have him on the outside and looking in along with Darrius Heyward-Bey.

Tight Ends (3)Jesse James, David Johnson, Xavier Grimble

Analysis: These are the same three I had last go-around and I’m sticking with them for obvious reasons. Johnson had a nice showing Friday night as a blocker and that wasn’t surprising. Newcomer Jake McGee needs a lot of help and could ultimately wind up on the practice squad.

Offensive Linemen (8)Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Ramon Foster, Marcus Gilbert, Alejandro Villanueva, B.J. Finney, Chris Hubbard, Jerald Hawkins

Analysis: Hawkins had a poor showing Friday night and hopefully he improves moving forward into the preseason. Matt Feiler appeared to have a good showing and his position flexibility is intriguing. He seems like a good practice squad candidate.

Defense (26)

Defensive Linemen (6)Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Javon Hargrave, Tyson Alualu, L.T. Walton, Johnny Maxey

Analysis: I’m officially pulling the plug on Daniel McCullers now and replacing him with Maxey. If Walton stays healthy he should be the backup nose tackle and fourth defensive end. Maxey would be the fifth end and a weekly inactive candidate.

Inside Linebackers (5)Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams, Steven Johnson, Tyler Matakevich, L.J. Fort

Analysis: Will they keep four or five inside linebackers? Johnson and Fort are still worth keeping right now in my eyes.

Outside Linebackers (5)Bud Dupree, James Harrison, T.J. Watt, Anthony Chickillo, Arthur Moats

Analysis: Until rookie draft pick Keion Adams plays, I have to give Moats the nod over him. I’m not going to knock Moats for him getting three sacks and interception Friday night against JV players. He did what he is expected to do. Too bad that wasn’t Chickillo that put together that Friday night showing. Here’s to hoping he plays in the second preseason game and excels.

Cornerbacks (6) –  Artie Burns, Ross Cockrell, Coty Sensabaugh, Cameron Sutton, William Gay, Mike Hilton

Analysis: Hilton’s Friday night showing matched his training camp hype and if it continues, he’ll be tough to keep off the roster. I’m sending rookie draft pick Brian Allen to the practice squad this time.

Safeties (4)Mike Mitchell, Sean Davis, Robert Golden, Jordan Dangerfield

Analysis: It’s easy for me to pick these four now after Daimion Stafford abruptly decided to retire at the start of training camp. Jacob Hagen had a decent showing Friday night and would likely benefit greatly from an injury moving forward.

Specialists (3)

Kicker (1)Chris Boswell

Analysis: Barring an injury, Boswell is a lock.

Punter (1)Jordan Berry

Analysis: Berry, like Boswell, is a lock as we enter training camp.

Long Snapper (1)Colin Holba

Analysis: Holba, the team’s sixth-round draft pick this year, is a lock at this point barring injury.

Final Notes: I made four changes in this latest prediction and all came on defense. Moats, Dangerfield, Maxey and Hilton were all added.

Practice Squad (10)Demarcus Ayers, Brian Mihalik, Matt Feiler, Jake McGee, Terrell Watson, Francis Kallon, Brian Allen, Jacob Hagen, Lavon Hooks, Keion Adams

Analysis: Added Feiler, McGee, Kallon, Adams and Allen this time.

Week 1 Inactives (7) – Hawkins, Dobbs, Maxey, Moats, Fort, Hunter, Sutton

Steelers 2017 53-Man Roster & 10-Man Practice Squad Prediction
Roethlisberger, BenQB
Jones, LandryQB
Dobbs, JoshuaQB
Bell, Le’VeonRB
Davis, KnileRB
Conner, JamesRB
Nix, RooseveltFB
Brown, AntonioWR
Bryant, MartavisWR
Rogers, EliWR
Smith-Schuster, JuJuWR
Coates, SammieWR
Hunter, JustinWR
James, JesseTE
Johnson, DavidTE
Grimble, XavierTE
Pouncey, MaurkiceC
Foster, RamonG
DeCastro, DavidG
Finney, B.J.C/G
Hubbard, ChrisT/G
Gilbert, MarcusT
Villanueva, AlejandroT
Hawkins, JeraldT
Heyward, CameronDE
Tuitt, StephonDE
Alualu, TysonDE
Hargrave, JavonDT
Walton, L.T.DT/DE
Maxey, JohnnyDE
Harrison, JamesOLB
Dupree, BudOLB
Watt, T.J.OLB
Chickillo, AnthonyOLB
Moats, ArthurOLB
Shazier, RyanILB
Williams, VinceILB
Johnson, StevenILB
Matakevich, TylerILB
Fort, L.J.ILB
Burns, ArtieCB
Cockrell, RossCB
Sutton, CameronCB
Sensabaugh, CotyCB
Gay, WilliamCB
Hilton, MikeCB/DB
Mitchell, MikeS
Davis, SeanS
Golden, RobertS
Dangerfield, JordanS
Boswell, ChrisK
Berry, JordanP
Holba, ColinLS
Ayers, DemarcusWR
Mihalik, BrianT
Feiler, MattG/T
McGee, JakeTE
Watson, TerrellRB
Kallon, FrancisDE
Allen, BrianCB
Hagen, JacobS
Hooks, LavonDT
Adams, KeionOLB