The final weekend before the beginning of the NFL season is upon us and every team in the league will have to make some cuts. All rosters in the league will have to be brought down to 53 players and those cut will have the option of signing with another team or signing with a teams practice squad. There will be some surprising cuts on each team and some young players who had phenomenal training camps and preseasons. I will be breaking down the Pittsburgh Steelers 53 man roster with a summary for each positional groups.
Pittsburgh Steelers 53 Man Roster:
The Pittsburgh Steelers made a surprising cut in backup QB Landry Jones on Saturday. Jones was the backup in Pittsburgh for the last 3 seasons. With the emergence off second year QB Joshua Dobbs and rookie QB Mason Rudolph, the Steelers decided to go in a different direction with youth. Joshua Dobbs will most likely be the backup to Ben Roethlisberger which should make Steelers fans happy after his growth from year 1 to year 2.
Le’Veon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers couldn’t come to terms on a long term deal this off-season so Bell is holding out of training camp and as of the first official practice for week 1 he still has yet to show up. I have Bell on the roster with an asterisk because he is not on the 53 man roster as of yet but once he signs his franchise tag and reports he will be on the roster. The Steelers have depth at the running back position with second year back James Connor who looks to be taking that next step in his development. Connor will most likely get the bulk of the carries in week 1 if Bell doesn’t report.
The receiving core for the Pittsburgh Steelers is young and deep. The Steelers traded away troubled wide receiver Martavias Bryant during the off-season. Pittsburgh had depth at that position and with the play of rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. The Steelers used the draft pick obtained for Bryant to draft James Washington who had a stellar college career and should fit right in with the Steelers offense. With the addition of Ryan Switzer late in training camp to be the punt and kick returner and possibly get some playing time in the slot.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were blessed at the tight end position for years with Heath Miller. When Heath retired the Steelers moved on with Jesse James who has progressed year after year. Vance McDonald was acquired last off-season from the 49ers with hopes of a spark at the position but battles injuries all season. With an improved Jesse James and a healthy Vance McDonald the Steelers should be in for a good year at the tight end position.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have one of the best offensive lines in the league and this season they have more depth behind them. The starting offensive linemen make one of the best in the league. These guys have been together for a couple of seasons which is key to having a successful offensive line. With the depth behind the starters giving them more leverage in case of an injury or some rest will help them be more successful in the long run.
The Steelers defensive line is made up with veterans who have been around. Heyward and Tuitt are two of the best at their positions and the leaders of the defense. When they are healthy this defense gets taken to another level. Hargrave was a surprise when they drafted him and he took off in the middle of that defensive line. They will rotate in guys to give the starters some rest and keep them fresh with Walton, Alualu, and McCullers who all bring a different element to the field.
The Pittsburgh Steelers had one of the best inside linebacker duos in the league with Vince Williams and Ryan Shazier. With an unfortunate injury last season to Shazier the Steelers defense took a step back towards the end of the season. Pittsburgh went out and signed Jon Bostic to fill the void at the inside linebacker position this season. Bostic is a veteran who has been around and knows how to play the game. With the sudden emergence of undrafted free agent Matthew Thomas, the Steelers have some depth at that position this season.
The outside linebacker position has always been a strength for the Pittsburgh Steelers. With second year player T.J. Watt taking the next step after his sensational rookie season and Bud Dupree being healthy and hopefully becoming a game changer. The Steelers plan on using those time heavily this season with Anthony Chickillo getting some run to give them some rest here and there.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been trying to figure out the cornerback position for a while now. With the addition of Joe Haden last season after he was cut by the Cleveland Browns. Third year player Artie Burns turning the corner and having a phenomenal training camp this season. The Steelers could have a dynamic duo in the secondary. Cameron Sutton who missed most of his rookie season is a player they love and have hopes for. Mike Hilton will be another key player in the slot and in the blitz packages.
The Steelers signed veteran Morgan Burnett this off-season to fill their void at the safety position following the release of Mike Mitchell. Burnett is a difference maker on the defensive side of the ball and is a proven leader. The Steelers will try to use Sean Davis and Terrell Edmunds in different situations this season as a linebacker or moving Davis to a corner spot and sliding Edmunds to the safety position. Pittsburgh will have versatility on defense with the speed and athleticism this season.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have one of the best kickers in the league in Chris Boswell. He has been a blessing in disguise for Pittsburgh and just signed a 5 year extension. Boswell has made plenty of game winning kicks and has been one of the most accurate kickers in the league. Jordan Perry will be the punter again this season after an average season last year but seems to have impressed the coaches in training camp. Kameron Canaday had a good season last year after beating out his rookie opponent after Greg Warren retired.
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