Projected 53-Man Final Roster After 1 Preseason Game And Other Goodies

With one preseason game in the books, here is the projected 53-man opening-day roster for the Steelers, predicted opening-day inactives, unlucky last 14 not to make the team, lucky last 14 clinging to a roster spot and the projected eight-man practice squad.

Tomorrow I will break down the last 14 in and last 14 out, looking at why each player could make the team and why they could not. As for now, tell me where you disagree, because everyone has their own take on this and no one is exactly sure.

53-Man, Opening-Day Roster
** = Roster Lock (95% or better barring major injury or arrest)
* = Roster Near Lock (75-94% barring major injury or arrest)
No stars = Clinging to the 53-man roster at this point of the preseason

QB Byron Leftwich **
QB Dennis Dixon **
RB Reshard Mendenhall **
RB Mewelde Moore **
RB/FB Isaac Redman
FB/RB Frank Summers
TE Heath Miller **
TE Matt Spaeth **
TE/FB D.J. Johnson *
WR Hines Ward **
WR Mike Wallace **
WR Antwaan Randle El *
WR Emmanuel Sanders **
WR Arnaz Battle *
WR Antonio Brown *
LT Max Starks **
LG Chris Kemoeatu **
C Justin Hartwig *
RG Trai Essex **
RT Flozell Adams *
C/G Maurkice Pouncey **
C/G/FB Doug Legursky *
G/T Ramon Foster *
T Jonathan Scott

DE Aaron Smith **
NT Casey Hampton **
DE Brett Keisel **
DE Ziggy Hood **
NT Chris Hoke **
DE Sunny Harris
DE Nick Eason
OLB James Harrison **
OLB LaMarr Woodley **
OLB Jason Worilds **
OLB Thad Gibson **
ILB James Farrior **
ILB Lawrence Timmons **
ILB Larry Foote **
ILB Keyaron Fox *
ILB Stevenson Sylvester
SS Troy Polamalu **
FS Ryan Clark **
S Will Allen *
S Ryan Mundy *
CB Ike Taylor **
CB Bryant McFadden **
CB William Gay **
CB Keenan Lewis **
CB Joe Burnett
CB Crezdon Butler

K Jeff Reed **
P Daniel Sepulveda **
SN Greg Warren **

Suspended List: QB Ben Roethlisberger
IR: OT Willie Colon
IR: WR Limas Sweed
IR: OLB Arnold Frazier
PUP: OT Chris Scott

Note: Batch will likely be cut to trim the list to 53. Thus, the Steelers would not have to pay him a full year’s salary when he is likely to be cut for good (barring injury to another QB) when Roethlisberger returns from suspension after week No. 4. However, he will be resigned quickly after the cut as soon as his full salary does not count toward the entire season. At that point, one of the seven DL (Eason or Harris) is most likely to be cut.

Opening Game-Day Inactives if Everyone is Healthy (8): FB/RB Frank Summers, WR Antonio Brown, OL Doug Legursky, OL Jonathan Scott, DE Sunny Harris, OLB Jason Worilds, CB Joe Burnett, CB Crezdon Butler

Last 14 Released From Camp (in order of how close they are to making team and their position matters): 1. QB Charlie Batch, 2. RB Jonathan Dwyer, 3. OT Tony Hills, 4. FB/TE Sean McHugh, 5. RET Stefan Logan, 6. OG Kraig Urbik, 7. CB/ST Anthony Madison,  8. OG Dorian Brooks, 9. DE Doug Worthington, 10. OL Adrian Jones, 11. FB/RB Dwayne Wright, 12. LB/ST Renauld Williams, 13. WR Tyler Grisham, 14. OLB/ST Patrick Bailey

Last 14 To Make the Team (in order of likelihood of being cut and their position matters):
1. DE Sunny Harris, 2. DE Nick Eason, 3. FB/TB Frank Summers, 4. OT Jonathan Scott, 5. RB Isaac Redman, 6. ILB Stevenson Sylvester, 7. CB Crezdon Butler, 8. CB Joe Burnett, 9. C Justin Hartwig, 10. WR Antonio Brown, 11. TE/FB D.J. Johnson, 12. WR Antwaan Randle El, 13. ILB Keyaron Fox, 14. S Ryan Mundy

Practice Squad (8): RB Jonathan Dwyer, WR Tyler Grisham, TE Eugene Bright or a TE or FB or QB released from another team, OG/C Dorian Brooks, OT Kyle Jolly or an OT released from another team, DE Doug Worthington, LB Brandon Renkart or a LB or NT released from another team, S Justin Thornton

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  • Randy Steele

    Your list looks pretty solid, Mr. Kian.

    A couple nitpicks: Keyaron Fox easily gets two stars. If Batch is cut, Randle El is the emergency QB. May as well give ARE two stars, too. No way is his spot in jeopardy, although it should be.

    If someone has a better alternative to Flozell Adams, I’d love to see it, but that guy isn’t on this team. May as well give Adams another star, too.

    Jonathan Scott’s performance hasn’t been roster-worthy thus far. If he’s kept, that’s a bad bad sign. Pouncey’s emergence may end Hartwig’s career in Pittsburgh, too.

    Also, I think Anthony Madison stays. He’s still their best ST player. Steelers won’t make that mistake again. And if they cut Logan, the Steelers had better damn well be certain about his replacement.

  • Ted

    All great points, Randy. This is a tough roster year. I can’t see them cutting Fox either, but I can’t put the odds above 95%, because he is one of five ILBs and Sylvester has impressed enough to make the roster. The rest, including Fox, are on the older side. Still, he is a strong near lock.

    Good point on El being the No. 3 QB. But if he is not among the top 5 WRs, he will not dress on gameday and the Steelers may need both Brown and Sanders for returns if they cut Logan. Still, I think it is highly likely El is on the team, dresses for opening day, and is the No. 3 WR for at least the first part of the year. He was also given guaranteed money on a 3-year contract. But I will not say he is a 95% or better shot to make the roster.

    Agree on Adams. He will be the starting RT. The other option, of course, was start Pouncey at right guard and Essek at RT. But with Pouncey now getting most of his looks at center, there really is no other option. However, with none of his salary guaranteed, I still will not put Adams at 95% or better to make the team.

    Agree on J. Scott. No one is worthy of that ninth offensive line spot besides possibly UDRFA Dorian Brooks. However, with Essek likely remaining the starting RG, this means that the ninth OL should be a pure tackle, giving the edge to J. Scott or Hills over Urbik and Brooks. The top eight appear set unless the Steelers surprisingly decide to cut Hartwig.

    Madison was awesome in preseason game 1 on STs and the Steelers clearly regretted cutting him last year. But can the team really afford to keep seven CBs, with none of them having experience at safety? Are you going to cut young guys with potential and talent in Butler and/or Burnett to keep Madison? I say no, particularly since the team finally has multiple options at gunner.

    I like Logan and think they should keep him. But the drafting on both Sanders and Brown told me the front office and coaching staff no longer wanted a one-trick player on the roster. This is a team that won a SB with Gary Russell and Carey Davis returning kicks, so they place little value on that area.

    • Randy Steele

      Thank you for your reply. Lots of good thoughts here, Mr. Kian.

      If the choice is between Madison and Butler, I’d try to hide Butler on the practice squad. A bit risky, I know, but there’s no way I take another chance with special teams like we did last year. No way.

  • Anonymous

    I’m hampered here by a lack of understanding of how these numbers work out. Could someone please explain or point to a resource explaining the roster breakdown, how IR and PUP are counted, and how inactives and the practice squad work?

  • ryan


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