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Getting the Steelers roster down to 53 will involve surprise or 2


Mark Kaboly  | Tribune-Review


The Steelers need to trim 22 players from their roster to get down to 53 by Saturday.


There is a big misnomer that the final 53-man roster is always made up of the best 53 players. That’s not the case. A lot of times injuries play a big part of how the initial 53-man roster is constructed, and that’s definitely the case with the Steelers heading into the season.


The uncertainty of the tight end and running back positions will force unwanted and somewhat surprising cuts somewhere else.


This is how I see it …




QUARTERBACK (2) – Ben Roethlisberger, Bruce Gradkowski.

Notable cut: Landry Jones

Comment: The rookie Jones gives them roster flexibility (practice squad eligibility) at the position – something the Steelers didn’t have when they had veterans like Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich as their backups. The Steelers will take advantage of that with Jones.



RUNNING BACK (6) – Le’Veon Bell, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, Larod Stephens-Howling, Felix Jones, Will Johnson

Notable cut: None

Comment: Injuries and no long-term answer currently under contract other than Bell at the position forces the Steelers to keep six – something they probably don’t want to do.



WIDE RECEIVER (4) – Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery, Markus Wheaton

Notable cut: Justin Brown, Derek Moye

Comment: Moye has done enough to make the team but injuries at other positions will force the Steelers to cut at other places including wide receiver. Both likely will find a place on the practice squad.



TIGHT END (5) – Heath Miller, David Paulson, David Johnson, Matt Spaeth, Jamie McCoy

Notable cut: None

Comment: This is one of those positions the Steelers have to keep more players than they want because of injury. Spaeth, however, could go on IR/designated to return after the final cut down, but they need healthy bodies.



OFFENSIVE LINE (8) – Maurkice Pouncey, Ramon Foster, David DeCastro, Mike Adams, Marcus Gilbert, Kelvin Beachum, John Malecki, Guy Whimper

Notable cut: Joe Long

Comment: The Steelers don’t have much to choose from after the top seven and could go looking via the waiver wire over the weekend. A roster spot will open if Spaeth is moved to long-term injured reserve and would be replaced by a lineman.



DEFENSIVE LINE (7) – Ziggy Hood, Steve McLendon, Brett Keisel, Cameron Heyward, Al Woods, Alameda Ta’amu, Hebron Fangupo

Notable cut: None

Comment: The top five are no-brainers in Hood, McLendon, Keisel, Heyward and Woods. The Steelers will keep six with the question being will they keep seven?
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (5) – LaMarr Woodley, Jarvis Jones, Jason Worilds, Alan Baxter, Chris Carter

Notable cut: None

Comment: When the Steelers traded Adrian Robinson it was because of the play of Baxter. Chris Carter solidified his spot with a good game against Carolina.



INSIDE LINEBACKER (4) – Lawrence Timmons, Larry Foote, Marshall McFadden, Vince Williams

Notable cut: Kion Wilson

Comment: McFadden and Wilson could be interchanged, but McFadden’s upside will be the determining factor over Wilson in the end.



CORNERBACK (5) – Ike Taylor, Cortez Allen, William Gay, Curtis Brown, Terry Hawthorne

Notable cut: Josh Victorian

Comment: Although Victorian might have earned the spot over Brown, the Steelers aren’t about to give up on the former third-round pick in Brown yet.



SAFETY (4): Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Shamarko Thomas, Robert Golden

Notable cut: None

Comment: Ross Ventrone will find himself on the practice squad, but this unit has pretty much been set since the start of camp.



SPECIALIST (3) – Shaun Suisham, Brian Moorman, Greg Warren

Notable cut: Drew Butler

Comment: There was a reason why the Steelers brought in a veteran punter in the offseason – because they wanted a veteran punter.




Author: Mark Kaboly

Mark Kaboly is the Pittburgh Steelers beat writer for the Tribune-Review. Mark has covered more than 300 NFL football games in all 32 NFL cities as well as four Super Bowls -- XL in Detroit, XLIII in Tampa, XLV in Dallas and 50 in San Francisco. A Belle Vernon Area graduate, Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a specialization in journalism from California University of Pennsylvania. Mark lives in Port Vue with his wife, Jennifer; daughter Briella; and boys Rocco and Bugsley Pug

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