Well now the writing is officially on the wall and the Steelers have made the moves to finalize their 53-man roster. On Saturday, the Pittsburgh Steelers cut down from a 75-player roster that was required to be done by 6 PM ET. Head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert have had a long day forming and getting down to a 53 players.
It is no question that Ben Roethlisberger is the face of the franchise in Pittsburgh now. The quarterback looks to relish the role of being the leader on this football team. During the preseason, Roethlisberger looked sharp and I think he will pick up this offense much better in year two under Todd Haley’s scheme.
When you are looking at the running backs, all hope and prayers are for Le’Veon Bell to get better quickly. The Steelers used their second round pick of the 2013 NFL Draft on the running back and have only seen him carry the ball four times against an opposing team. As far as the other running backs, the Steelers have some real serviceable players starting with Isaac Redman who has only played in one preseason game, but listed as a co-starter with Bell.
Along with those two the Steelers have two more in LaRod Stephens-Howling, and Felix Jones. I would love to see more of what Jones can do in this offense personally. With Jonathan Dwyer cut, it looks like that is exactly what will happen. He runs like a veteran of the game. Stephens-Howling is a man that can eat up yards with the ball in his hands. When in the open, he is dangerous.
Wide Receiver is one of the real depth positions for the Steelers. With their decision to keep five wide outs, four of them can no doubt be starters in the league either now or in the near future. Although none of them have been a real number one receiver, they are young and talented with high potential. Antonio Brown and Emannuel Sanders have had a solid preseason and both seem to be eager for the season. Derek Moye makes the roster as the fifth wide receiver and truly earned his spot.
Smile Steelers Nation, because the offense is one step closer to having tight end Heath Miller back. Miller was activated to the 53-man roster on Saturday as the team held onto four more (Spaeth, Paulson, Johnson, Palmer).
To round up the offensive side of the ball, the offensive line will consist of 8 men (Adams, Gilbert, Pouncey, DeCastro, Foster, Beachum, Whimper, Malecki). The five starters average an age of 24 and are one of the youngest Steelers offensive lines in franchise history. Depth wise, the offensive line could be bad. After Kelvin Beachum, the team takes a noticeable drop in talent.
Looking at the defense as a whole, they look as if they have all the capabilities to be a top defense in the league again in 2013. Starting with the defensive line where they held onto six men that have high potential in being the best defensive line in years for the Steelers. Starting with Ziggy Hood who had a very productive preseason.
The Steelers decided to keep 8 linebackers total on the 53-man roster (4-inside; 4-outside). When first round rookie Jarvis Jones is able to practice again, I expect him to continue to push Jason Worilds for the starting job. Jones has been a ball hawk to say the least. Throughout the preseason, he was able to make plays and force turnovers. Lawrence Timmons and Larry Foote look to be in great health and ready to go back to work as the starting inside linebackers with help of Vince Williams and Kion Wilson.
The Steelers held onto five cornerbacks as they made their roster moves on Sunday (Taylor, Allen, Gay, Brown, Green). Isaiah Green ended up being the surprise pick to make the roster over fifth round pick Terry Hawthorne.
The black and gold held onto 5 safeties as well. The Steelers look to have some good depth behind All-Pros Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark which was a big question going into training camp. Robert Golden, Damon Cromartie-Smith, and Shamarko Thomas were the three men chosen to stay on the roster as they continue to receive wisdom behind two of the best safeties in the game.
Drew Butler won the punting battle over Brian Moorman in what looked to be the other way around early in the preseason. Butler made the team, along with kicker Shaun Suisham and Greg Warren as the team’s long snapper.
There you have it Steeler Nation. The Steelers are down to their mandatory 53-man roster. Do not be glued to every guy, however, as the front office will be paying close attention to the wavier wire to see if they can improve this roster in any way. I think Steeler Nation can agree the preseason was a little rough to watch at times, but we must put that away now. Because it is time to make the doughnuts as Steelers’ great Jerome Bettis would say. Let’s roll!